Grace is easily all we need in times of success and in times of peace. When we are on the mountaintop, the praise flows freely. But life simply doesn’t stay that way for long.
Where is the joy in getting passed up for a promotion? Where is the peace when the person you thought was your best friend begins ignoring your phone calls? Where is God when everything is going wrong?
When faced with the valley, it can be hard to remember what singing praises to God and rejoicing in His grace and goodness really felt like.
We have all been there when the joy slips away and the only feeling left is rejection and pain.
This is not the way God wanted our lives to be, yet we know persecution goes hand in hand with being a follower of Christ.
His desire is for His Children to come to Him in times of struggle. Thankfully, He gave us an instruction manual for times such as these.
Let’s look to the Word of God to see what He has to say about your faith in the midst of hardship.
Resilience in the Christian Faith
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
What is “resilience”? According to the dictionary, it is the ability to overcome and the ability of a thing to return to its original state. In other words, to bounce back.
God has called you to test your faith and be resilient by overcoming the obstacles you are faced with by turning to Him.
Faith doesn’t mean that there won’t be hard times. Faith is like a basket you put your hope into when you just can’t carry it in your hands any longer.
God Makes Everything Beautiful Even During Bad Times
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
The vastness of God, the universe, and everything in it still does not outweigh the real pain that comes through trial and rejection.
The beauty comes through the realization that the hard times are for but a season and they will pass.
Even a rosebush that has not yet fully bloomed may seem like a bramble of thorns at first, but when spring comes it will thrive with beauty.
Life is like that. In order to appreciate the beauty of the roses, we have to make it through the thorns.
Limitations of Our Own Strength
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
If humans were strong and capable of bringing forth their own salvation, here would be no reason for Christ’s sacrifice.
The reality is that we are all weak in our own way. If we could lean on our own strength, then what is the purpose of prayer and faith in Jesus?
There is peace in weakness, rejection, and suffering because with these hardships we can turn to Christ.
The power of God is perfect and His grace is enough. It is all anyone needs to carry on.
However, it isn’t always easy to accept that His way is enough when it seems like the world is crashing down around us.
Strategies for coping with Suffering
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
It may sound completely silly at first, but taking the time to practice prayer and meditation is not only scientifically backed to be healthy, but it is exactly what God wants you to do: spend time with Him.
- Take time to breathe. Breathe in, count to five. Breath out, count to five. Repeat.
- Practice grounding. Look around and you can say out loud what you see: tissues, boxes, glasses, pencils, etc. It sounds strange if you have never done this, but making a point to acknowledge your reality and be present in the moment can help you find peace in the moment.
- Say a prayer of thanksgiving. Finding any bit of gratitude, no matter how terrible things are, eases the weight of burden. Even if you begin with the mundane things like clouds in the sky to toilet paper in the bathroom. There is something to be thankful for.
Growing in Resilience
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
“Endurance” sounds like a word reserved especially for athletes, but it is something everyone has to engage from time to time.
It can seem insensitive to look for the character building lesson when a friend abandons you or a loved one becomes cold and distant, but oftentimes it is in these moments that we must choose to lean on the only friend we can trust: Jesus.
It is through the Holy Spirit that we are truly never alone, and that we are able to grow from adversity into the person God planned for us to be all along.
Learn how to deal with adversity
As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
Paul was literally in chains and in jail for believing in Jesus and proclaiming the Gospel.
Yet in his suffering, he used those moments to tell even the guards who held him captive about the Good News of Jesus.
Sometimes our trip down through the valleys of life isn’t to test our faith and find our own salvation: this may be an opportunity to share your story and hardship with someone else and come out on top together.
Take Time For Prayer And Bible Study
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…
There are no magic words and no overnight fixes that will make the hurt end.
The only things you can do are pray and continue earnestly to seek Him. Jesus said some things that were very contrary to our human nature.
It is easy to hate. It is easy to dwell on resentment. It is easy to make ourselves sick with stress and worry because of all the hate and resentment—which are very human paths to take.
Instead, Jesus wants us to love. Love yourself. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy.
Sometimes it hurts to find the words to say in prayer, but trust the Holy Spirit is already at work relaying all your cares to God.
Set some time aside and give God your burdens. Ask Him for the strength to love your enemy and pray for them.
Ask God to Help You Overcome Obstacles
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Jesus warned His disciples that they would be persecuted for following Him, but the message wasn’t just for the twelve: it’s for us too.
Persecution can come in all shapes and sizes.
It could be loss of a job or promotion, loss of a friend or family member, or even a strained love life.
These trials may look different in modern times than what Paul went through when he wrote this last letter to Timothy, but values remain the same.
Don’t forget the truth you have learned and the promise of your salvation.
When you choose to live in Christ, the things of the world will pull you to dwell on the bad and to focus your energy on earthly problems.
Your eternal soul is more precious and valuable than the things of earth that will pass away, so much so that Christ died to give you access to new life.
Ask God to help you overcome these obstacles in your life and focus on the salvation you have in Jesus Christ.
God knows your pain and your suffering. Jesus Himself walked through temptation, mockery, and rejection not just to be led to the cross to die for your sins as the perfect Sacrifice, but also to experience and know firsthand what the trials of this life are truly like.
Now you have read what the Bible has to day. Now you have the tools. It’s your turn. Pray now to the Wonderful Counselor who knows your hardship.
Put your faith in Him in steadfastness and He will set you free.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
I wear many hats; Wife, Mom, Minister, Blogger and Entrepreneur.
It’s not easy juggling everything but with the Grace of God, I can do all things!
My plate is full but my cup runneth over!!