“Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name… Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:4-5
When we encounter difficult seasons in our lives, our aim as children of God should be to become BETTER and not BITTER. We cannot allow our hard times to completely rob us of our peace, our joy and our sense of purpose in life. To help us in our journeys, there are some things that we must do when we feel like giving up. The first key is to recognize that the difficult situation is not bigger than God is.
The second key is:
2. Understand that this too will pass.
When we are going through bad times it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, we must remember that weeping endures for a night but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). This may have nothing to do with actual twelve-hour days and twelve-hour nights, rather we have night seasons and morning seasons.
In the natural, no season lasts forever. After summer comes autumn, after autumn comes winter, then spring and then the cycle repeats itself. In our lives, seasons change as well. Nothing lasts forever, not even difficult times. They always pass. Your night will turn to day. It must – it is the natural order of life. Encourage yourself by repeating this statement: “Nothing lasts forever. God has given me the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; He will turn my darkness into light. Although the night seems unending, morning will come again.”
Be encouraged today in all that you walk through! Hold on to the truth of the Word of God. Speak it. Declare it. Meditate on it. It shall surely bring you out!
“For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
Our heavenly Father is a God of purpose. Nothing is wasted with God. He uses everything for His honour and His glory. God has the plan and knows the purpose for everything that He allows us to walk through. If we cooperate with Him and learn to respond correctly in the different seasons of life that we walk through, we will experience the joy of His presence and walk in the fullness of His glory. It all comes down to these two words and two mindsets. Which one will you choose? Do I choose to be BETTER OR BITTER?
If we choose to become better, then there are some things that we must do. Let’s start with this key:
1. Recognize that the difficult situation is not bigger than God is.
God created the entire universe and sustains it all by His power. He took care of the children of Israel and all believers as recorded in the Scriptures. Everything and everyone is subject to God. He is the only true Power on the earth. Remind yourself constantly that your God does not slumber nor sleep (See Psalm 121). Draw strength and courage from your knowledge of God. See Him big and mighty, larger than everything that is confronting you.
Yes, you will cry and sometimes the pain that you experience may seem unbearable, but in the midst of it all, gather what small amount of strength you may possess and magnify your God. Make Him large in your mind. Fix your gaze on His strength and His power. Remember that He told Paul, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). When we are weak then our God shows His strength and might. He is the God of all flesh and there is nothing too hard for Him to do (See Jeremiah 32:17, 27; Genesis 18:14). In His time and in His own unique way He will work all things together for your good. HE is a faithful God.
“Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6
You and I have grace for today. God gives us GRACE that we need to navigate every season of our lives. Knowing this must help us to respond in a way that pleases God so that we would become all that He has designed us to be. As we journey through life, God desires that we become better and not bitter.
Better and Bitter. The difference between the two words, is simply one letter. There is an ‘e’ in the word better and an ‘i’ in the word bitter, yet this letter exchange is significant. To become better amidst pain and the trial we need that ‘e’ that represents the eternal, everlasting and ever-present God. We need the ‘e’ to:
Engage in deep prayer and intercession.
Enlarge our perception of who God is.
Enquire of the Lord concerning His will in this time.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise.
Experience His majesty and power.
If we were to replace the ‘e’ in better with the ‘i’, this is what we would experience:
“I do don’t deserve this.”
“I cannot go on.”
“I am too weak to fight.”
“Why am I going through this?”
As we focus on the I, we become bitter and when we are bitter, all we can see and hear about is ourselves—what we need, what we deserve and what we can or cannot do.
That same letter ‘i’ is in the middle of the word pride. When we allow ourselves to become bitter, we are operating in pride -we are judging God and blaming Him for the things that we are experiencing instead of blessing Him as Job did although he did not understand his misfortunes.
Today, let us ask ourselves these questions: Will I become better or bitter? Will I focus on the ‘i’ position and the ‘poor me’ condition or on the ‘e’ position and worship the eternal ever-wise God who is in complete control of my life? What will be the decision that I make today?
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1: 2-4
The objective of life in Christ is to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. The trying of our faith helps us to develop Christ-like ways. Take a moment and reread today’s scripture above.
What is James saying to us? He is saying that the difficult situations should make us better people, not bitter. We must choose how we want to be.
The Greek word for trials (peirasmoi) refers to persecution and troubles from the world or Satan. The things that have happened may be terrible but our response must be good to please God. We must meet these trials with joy knowing that at the end of it all we would have developed a persevering faith, proven character and mature hope. Our faith can only reach full maturity when faced with difficulty and opposition.
The kingdom of God demands a people of faith. Faith is the language of heaven. Faith is the only thing that causes God to respond to our prayers. What will develop our faith? The situations that God brings us through.
Our faith can increase when we hear the testimonies of others and witness what God does for them, but, it is only after we have come through a dark season ourselves, that we can look back and truly know that God is who He says He is.
Just think for a moment, what had God brought YOU through?
Adapted from an Excerpt from “Stuff Happens” by Diann J. Wilson
“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.” Psalm 34:4-6
When difficult times happen in our lives, how should we respond? Let’s have a look today at David, the shepherd boy. In 1 Samuel 16, we read of David being summons to his father’s house from the field to be anointed for his destiny – King over Israel. This was definitely something good.
As time progressed, we see that David had many accomplishments and he caught the attention of the King and of the people… then trouble started – King Saul’s jealousy of David caused him to try to kill the young shepherd boy. David was forced to run for His life, and he kept running for more than a decade. He experienced thirteen long, hard years of being a fugitive.
How did David respond during those years of trouble and hardship? Did David sing? Yes he did. Did David Praise God? Yes he did. Did David testify about God’s goodness even in times of trouble? Yes he did. His words testified loud and clear, that God was still in control of His life.
As we look at the life of David, we see that his response was not one of hopelessness, rather of praise. He continued to praise the Lord and we must do the same. During his bad times, David kept focused on what he had to do. He knew that he had been anointed to lead Israel one day. He did not have control over his circumstances, but he, however, had control over the way he chose to respond to the attacks of the enemy and from all that we have read, we can see that he responded accurately. We can learn a lot from David… when troubles abound, our praise to God must abound the more!
“I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart.“ Psalm 34:1-2 NLT
In life, each person will walk through different seasons when he or she will experience things that are unpleasant, despairing, and even frustrating. We encounter sickness, death, troubles, financial distress, broken marriages, rebellious children, unfaithful spouses, job loss, betrayal, disappointment, natural disasters, and even failures. We all experience ‘bad’ times in our lives.
In His word, God instructs us how we are to respond when we encounter those difficult situations in life and we must strive to do what He requires of us. Our love for God must motivate us to respond accurately. Knowing and understanding the character and heart of God will enable us, in the midst of our pain, to be able to continue to bless the Lord at all times.
We are being transformed daily by the renewing of our minds through the study of His Word and so, we can grow and develop into mature saints who live to bring pleasure to Him. This is not an impossible feat; in fact, it is very possible to please God because He gave us His word and His Spirit so that we could. God, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge of the human frame, did not leave it up to us and our feelings.With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can accept and believe that God is a good God who cares deeply about us, knows what we are going through and is committed to working out all things for our good. We can boast in our God because He is with us in the midst of our difficult moments and will bring us through victoriously!
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.” Ecclesiastes 12:13
In this journey of life, we have many different experiences. Some life events are very joyful and cause us to celebrate and be thankful, and there are life events that are sad and cause us to stop and think about the true meaning of living. As we face life head on, we will navigate through numerous emotions evoked by the many things we see, hear, and feel.
There are things, things, and more things. Life is full of experiences and events, and wherever you may travel in the world and whomever you may speak with, there is always a story of something that has happened or is happening. Things happen. STUFF HAPPENS! There is no getting away from things happening once you are alive and living on this earth.
We must come to the realization that there are things that we will encounter that we have no control over. God is the only one who has supreme control over life. He created life, He sustains life, and He alone has the ability to direct life. Not only does He have the ability but He also has the right and the authority to do so, for we are His handiwork. Nothing exists that was not created by the hand of our mighty God. That gives Him the legal right to be able to control and direct everything for His pleasure and purpose.
If we understand this important truth, we would be freed from a lot of unnecessary stress. We are reminded today that as children of God our duty, is to “Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person” (NASB). This is our main responsibility and as we obey this instruction, it is God’s covenanted duty to take care of us in the good times and in the not so good times.
An Excerpt from “Stuff Happens” by Diann J. Wilson