A while ago I did a talk about ‘Enduring Hardships with A Christ Focus’. In my talk I shared about how we could apply this focus in our lives and what the Bible says to encourage us when we go through trials and difficult times.
I thought I’d do a post on what I shared about. Perhaps at a later time I’ll share further on other points I discussed (it was quite lengthy!) and more about what I’ve been through personally.
I share this post from a Christian perspective and although I know not everyone shares the same theology I hope that if you’re going through sufferings of your own you’ll be able to find out more about who Christ is and what it means to have His love in your life.
I think one of the most important things is to look to the Bible and see what God says. We can learn so much from the Bible ; from what God actually says, but also through the testimonies of humans (just like you and me) and what they have learned in history and how God worked in their lives. One important figure being Paul. In the book of Phililipians Paul talks about how he knows “what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12) Paul is a prime example of a man who suffered in chains, beaten and discouraged. However he knew his purpose in the world, he knew the bigger picture and he had faith in God’s promises of a brighter future. He had peace.
We also can’t forget about Jesus Christ himself! He went through the ultimate hardship of dying a sinner’s death – an extremely shameful and horrible way to die in a historical/cultural content; crucifixion. He could have stopped this from happening any time but he didn’t because he was fulfilling God’s promise of human salvation – so that we can live an eternal life of peace and joy. To emphasise, Jesus did this to save us from a death that lasts forever ( meaning a life separated from God) so that we could have a future of complete perfection with no more pain,no more tears and suffering.I believe that life on earth is temporary but while we are on earth, good can always prevail! Jesus understands pain more than anyone else; more than ourselves and we can pray and ask him to be our comforter.
Peace with God isn’t the same thing as being happy about the circumstance you are in or that you agree with it because we do live in a cruel world filled with things we don’t understand and can’t comprehend.I think it’s important to remember that God doesn’t make these things happen, He merely allowed it. Sometimes we won’t ever know why but God’s characteristics all point to love and I believe our pain hurts him but He’s going to make it right in His timing. Peace with God is about saying to Christ, “It hurts and I don’t understand why, but I trust that while I am in this situation, there is always a way for your love to be present.” Prayer for eyes to be opened to a bigger perspective, prayer for comfort and peace are prayers that God hears.
Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.
Hardships can come in many different forms and can be experienced very differently from different people. What one person may relate to as hardship may not be hardship to another. They could be things such as temptations we face that produce negative outcomes, illness, family problems, broken friendships, anxiety, depression, being persecuted, living in poverty and more. I think that the end of the day they’re usually things that make us feel hopeless, helpless or in despair. A lot of times we feel like it’s out of our control and we need a miracle or someone bigger than us to to take control and assist us – and for Christians we have a Heavenly Father we can look to for this support.
At the same time it’s also common that people start to blame God and feel angry for their problems, while others lose hope, get very discouraged and then begin to doubt God. When I talk about hardship I’m generally talking about things that are out of our control because of the concept of sin. It doesn’t mean we just sit back and not try to do anything to help solve the problem, but the type of hardship experience I decided to share about in my talk was more catered to to things that you really don’t know what to do about.
So what do I mean by endure?
Enduring means to carry on and persist with living. When I talk about enduring hardships, I don’t mean it by me wanting you to just happily bear it with happy faces because I know that’s very unlikely and probably fake. We’re humans, Of course we’ll feel sad, betrayed, or angry at times. And these emotions are very real; they’re a part of us and they’re not evil emotions but quite normal- however we have to be careful that our emotions don’t become something sinful. By that I mean when we allow them to grow in to an unhealthy consumption where it becomes all we think about. Our thoughts can cause us to dwell in sin when we act with the purpose to hurt others when we are hurting ourselves. Enduring doesn’t have to be alone.
It’s important to have a good relationship with God in all seasons of life, not just the happy comfortable situations. When we are going through hardships, our faith does get tested and we need to remain and stay strong in our faith with God. Just because we feel that God is far from us doesn’t mean He is. In fact, He has promised he will never leave us or forsake us, and since He never lies we have to hold onto what we know about God’s character. WE know he loves us and we know He can work for good because of what the Bible says. So while we go through these troubles we have a choice with how we respond. As difficult it is not to let our emotions control us, we do need to fix our eyes on Jesus and trust Him.
In this video you can see how easy it is to trust God in small situations but remember God can do anything.. He cares for you. And He’s got your whole future in His hands. When we go through hardships for many it can be a big turning point because it’s often a cross roads. Do we let this bring us further away from Christ OR CLOSER to Christ? What will we choose?
It’s not that I think the specific hardship you go through is a good thing and I wouldn’t ever wish anyone harm, I just know that when we face difficulties we generally have two options – to face them or to run away. Facing them is hard but it’s generally what makes us a stronger person. To be positive is difficult and we don’t have to pretend to be positive. All I can try to do for myself is to remind myself of God’s promises so I can get through each day. I remind myself of the opportunities that come out from hardships. The opportunity to bond with others, to learn to trust in God (and not treat God like a genie in a lamp), it’s an opportunity to encourage others who may go through something similar in the future, also an opportunity to see the good in other people who are there to support you; hardships can also bring people together and other things that I will share in detail in another post.
I really believe that the things that God is working in your life are real stories that you can share to help other people and really encourage people (whether that means you’re more understanding, a better listener, or whether you can relate to one another and offer advice). If you acknowledge that everything you’ve been able to get through is all thanks to God you’re really able to praise His name and teach others of how amazing Christ is and that Christ truly does give hope. Anything whether it seems small or big that Christ has done in your life is something that can be used to help someone else to know or hear about Christ. The Bible is filled with testimonies and examples of how we know who He is. Sometimes for ourselves we don’t share our problems because we’re afraid that people won’t understand or that people will judge us BUT what God does in your life can never be taken away.
Would love to share more but it’s been a lengthy post. I’m sorry if not everything made sense.I felt the need to post this but I hope to add and refine it as I learn more myself. Feel free to message me if you do have anything you want to know more about!