Keep a stiff upper lip.
There are times when we carry much sorrow, fear, uncertainty and feel like we don’t want to go on. There are some evenings that take away the excitement of waking up to another day. What motivates you to look forward to tomorrow when you are in the doldrums? After a disappointment, conflict with a loved one, the loss of a loved one, or being laid off, there’s little hope for another day. Life has many highs and lows, and it’s debilitating trying to keep up. During these moments we would fain to throw in the towel and walk away from it all. We need unquestionable reassurance to revitalize us. Whatever that may be, is our only hope in spite of fears or doubts, to get us through the next hour.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord (Psalm 27)!
When we are at the lowest point in our lives, there’s uncertainty about the very purpose of existence. Everything seems topsy-turvy and hopeless. No one knows our pain, nor can anyone understand it if they were let in on it. It’s a very lonely place—full of darkness with no ray of hope. We are worn out and life makes no sense anymore. But we have to get our focus off our disappointments and sorrow, because we can’t undo the past. The more we think or talk about it, the deeper we plunge into misery. We have to try and find even a morsel of good in the pain, by silencing our negative emotions.
You may have put your hope in God, and things just didn’t pan out; you depended on someone and they failed your expectations, so now what? Reason with God about His Character as it relates to your situation. Recite God’s promises and profess to Him that they are all you have left. Unless we believe to see His Goodness in the land of the living, we have no hope. We must be forthright with God about how we feel—desperate and frustrated. We plead to see His Goodness in the land of the living. Using His Own Character—He is Good, we compel Him to reveal His Goodness. God is our only hope when there’s no other firm hope. Our emotions don’t give us solace. We must not depend on how we feel to bring us comfort. Emotions are driven by thoughts, which are fickle at best. Our minds race from one event to the another in a matter of seconds. Rather than clinging to what we don’t understand, we must make a last ditch attempt to find good. We should never give up until we have left no stone unturned.
Cry out to God and ask to see His Goodness yet another day. Wait on God’s Goodness like your life depends on it. We often get excited about something we hope for; a package, an announcement, a score in a game where our team is losing, yet we have trouble getting the nervous-excitement of seeing what God will do. Refuse to wallow in darkness and reach out for a flicker of hope. Wait, by trusting in Him and silencing all the dark thoughts. Trust in God by being eager to see what He will do, in prayer and thanksgiving. Wait, by not rushing Him—be patient with God. We wait in line for hours for things we think are worth the time, so why can’t we wait on God? Be attentive with your ears to the ground as you spend time in Scripture. Let God strengthen your heart with optimism about what He will do. Pray Scripture that professes God’s matchless qualities. Hope by plucking up your courage to face the next moment, and doing the next thing. Be at your best in the present.
8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Corinthians 4).
Living in Christ is living in a body of suffering. Those who have the Spirit of Christ will suffer as He did. The life of a Christian is not immune to the struggles of this world. We are carrying the body of the dying LORD Jesus daily, because we ate the bread—the broken body and became one with Him. We have exchanged the life of worldly comforts to gain His Life—denying ourselves by carrying our own cross—we carry the symbol of our own suffering, following in the footsteps of Our LORD. We have been crucified with Him; therefore, we are never alone in our own suffering. The Life of Christ manifested through us is one that overcomes; that was raised from the dead—ever lives to rise up triumphant in all suffering. While we are struck down by our circumstances, we are never destroyed; when we are hard-pressed on every side we are not crushed; this is our heritage—this is what makes the children of God different from others. We manifest His Power in the most trying times, by handing it all over to the One Who conquered death.
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead (Philipians 3).
Never forget that there’s a battle for our soul particularly when we are most weak. The enemy of our souls would like to remind us of our weakness and sufferings, but we must remind him of The Power in us. We stick it to the enemy, by abiding in The LORD in every circumstance. We do this by lifting up our voices in praise, while calling out, “Save me, Oh LORD!” This is how the walls of Jericho fell down—by a shout of praise and the sounding of a trumpet.
Undoubtedly, suffering can be the will of God for us. Why would a Loving God allow us to suffer? Why would a Loving Father allow His Son to suffer and die for us? Every suffering has its purpose. If Christ suffered according to The Will of His Father, will we be exempted?
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed. He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge, My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore, I will divide Him a portion with the great; And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death. And He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (Isaiah 53).
We don’t understand and may never understand what God is doing during excruciating times. The question, “Why?” will not offer much comfort except cast doubt on God’s Love. If Christ didn’t suffer, we would not be who we are today. Our suffering could also give hope to someone else. As we cling to God we draw nearer to Him, while we encourage others. Suffering could be the very reason we seek God like we never did before. He will bring us to the other side; He will reward us for overcoming, because we refused to doubt His Love in the most difficult time. We can then testify to what the LORD has done, and build the faith of others. God’s Love is tested most not in the highs, but in the lows. If God is still Good in the worst of times, then that invests Him as Almighty God.
18 Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator (1 Peter 4).
People pay closer attention when we are in difficulties. This is God’s Will not just for us, but for someone else watching. Others are drawn to our suffering and are intently focused on what will come next. So, we must commit ourselves to our Faithful Creator Who knows the end from the beginning. If the righteous are delivered from their troubles, what is the hope of the unbelievers? According to God’s Will we must continue to do good to others, even as we wait to see God’s Goodness for us.
24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also (John 12).
Life is never fair, because life in this world is temporary. Temporary dwellings lack a lot of comforts. If we live for this life only, we will never accept anything less than bliss. If we choose Eternal Life in Christ we acknowledge that we are not comfortable, but content with the temporary conditions. We can then serve the LORD in all circumstances; by surrendering our lives in times of joy or sorrow to Him.
We are witnesses to His Greatness, in all issues pertaining to our lives. Some tragic things happen because of human free-will; homicides, violence and the list goes on. But even in these situations, God has allowed humans to act upon what they desire most, so that He can remind all of us that there are two forces operating in the world—good and evil. We can choose which force to turn to in tumultuous times.
10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand (Daniel 12).
Rejecting God because of the consequences of brazen human will, is denying one force while acknowledging the power of another. When we turn our backs on God because we have suffered wrong, we allow the consequences of evil to dictate how we feel about God, and make Him equivalent to the offender. If we commit ourselves to God, He is sure to use our suffering for our good and perfect us in His Strength. But if we allow our struggles and pain to shut God out, we give our adversary the right to direct our thinking. We have never suffered more than the next person. We should always remember that someone else has it worse.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 5).
The devil is our adversary, because He is God’s adversary. Enemies always try to go for the weak ones that are dear to their targets. At our lowest point, we are most vulnerable to deception; thoughts that tell us, “We will not overcome and this is a permanent state”. When our confidence is shaken, we lose hope in the things and people we trust. So we have to be vigilant and stand on our confidence, even when we don’t have all the answers. Our faith will keep us steadfast enough to resist our enemy. Faith is unshakable trust. The God of all Grace who has called us to eternal glory, will perfect us in the things that are eternal, not in the ephemera. He specializes in circumventing the physical laws to prove His Supremacy; He is The God Who creates by His Spoken Word.
23 Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person. 24 Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord (Psalm 31).
Love for God doesn’t hinge on our happiness and prosperity. Loving God is the core of our existence. Love engenders faithfulness. Faithfulness is commitment that doesn’t waver under intense pressure. Endurance is faith and confidence in the Goodness of God to see us through. He preserves the faithful—those who don’t waver on His Goodness and love Him through thick and thin. The proud want God to be at their beck and call—answering to their demands based on how much they have invested in their relationship. Even a marriage founded on this kind of entitlement is bound to fail. Endurance is steeling oneself to go on in God’s Strength. Courage builds endurance by silencing doubt.
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock (Matthew 7).”
Where do you turn to when the storms of life are buffeting you? We have to find a strong and dependable hope that we can act upon immediately so that we don’t crush. Those who keep God’s Word by doing it, will be able to withstand the struggles of life. Why? Like everyone else, they aren’t immune to struggles, but their focus is not on their surroundings and issues but obedience and trust. They understand that hardship is part of life, but obedience and trust is a choice, in the midst of it. They weather the storm by channeling their thoughts to doing what pleases God. They have not built their lives on their achievements but on every Word that comes from the Mouth of God; this is their solid foundation—the rock that no storm can move.
We can’t build endurance without anticipating a benefit. Any seasoned athlete will tell you that endurance is the crux of physical training; builds momentum and ensures less injury to the body. Endurance requires not just the physical-human will of the body systems, but mental and emotional coordination. As spiritual beings, our endurance in Christ will impact our ability to overcome in many areas of our lives. We don’t need to whine and complain each time we are faced with a hill to climb; we want to reveal God’s Strength in us. We have to be faithful in obedience and trust. He will preserve, strengthen, perfect and establish us. Our determination will encourage others who are looking on to see how we pull through. Our faith will keep us steadfast and vigilant in trying moments, as we resist the enemy; who wants to see us destroyed by doubt. We bear in these bodies the sufferings of our LORD Jesus, because we were crucified with Him. Day by day, we will continue to live the death and risen life of our LORD in triumph and endurance in our temporary circumstances.
8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful (James 5).