And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6 NLT). Does this work also include hard times? Yes!! Jesus said “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT) How can hard times be good? It hurts. They definitely don’t “feel” good, but the hard times move and shake things inside of us that God wants to use for His glory. This is where the Potter does some of His most beautiful work. He is more concerned about making us into the image of Jesus than our comfort level. Feelings are temporary. Character is forever. It will leave a lasting impression even after we leave this earth. When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation (Proverbs 10:25 NLT). People who have been through tough times in this life offer insight to others. They’ve got a depth to them that just seems to draw you in. The storms came, and they’re still standing. Think about those who have poured into you during your times of adversity.
Hardships are inevitable in this world because we have a real enemy out there. But rest assured, Jesus has defeated him. Nonetheless, we have to go through unpleasant things because we live in a sin stained world. Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy (James 1:2 NLT). For me, I can honestly say that the very times I’ve leaned the hardest into the Lord have been the tough times. I know that HE IS the answer! Where else would I go? He went through this earth as a person just like us and experienced everything we will ever face. He identifies with our struggles and has compassion on us. The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles (Psalm 34:17 NLT). This is so encouraging. He walks us through the tough times and brings us out better on the other side. So, the storms of life are certainly not enjoyable but God uses them to strengthen our relationship with Him, thus making us more like Him. Our biggest tests become our biggest testimonies!
“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!” (John 12:27 NLT) Could it be that our trials in life are to strengthen us and other people? Jesus’ toughest trial produced a harvest for the Kingdom of Heaven that you and I can still partake of today. I can’t imagine taking on the sins of the world and being nailed to a cross you didn’t deserve. But that’s what Jesus did. He did it with assured purpose. He knew the reason He was here. He kept His eyes on the prize. The prize was you and I made right in the sight of God. The prize was to bring us back into our rightful place in the family of God. What are your eyes on? The news? Your bank account? Hopefully we can refocus and get our eyes on Jesus. He’s got plans and real purpose for our lives.
People are out there just waiting for you to step in and share your experiences in times of trouble. You may be their very answer to prayer. You may be the one Jesus is sending into the battle because you have knowledge in that area that nobody else does. Take your cries in the valley and help shoulder someone else up to the mountaintop.
Today’s writer is Brandi Crowe. A hairdresser for over 25 years, she is currently the owner of Brandi Crowe salon in Buford, GA. She loves hiking, a good cup of coffee and spending time with family and friends. Brandi lives in a custom farmhouse with her husband, Robby and cat, Harold.