by Grace Fox
Life is flat-out hard sometimes. Stuff happens when we least expect it, and it can send us into a tailspin or drive us to our knees. Sometimes that stuff lingers much longer than we’d like. We tie a knot and hang on for dear life, but fear threatens to slip our grip.
I’m in a season like that right now. I’ve lost four friends in six weeks. The oldest was 53. The others left behind 10 children ages 8 thru 16 years. Two more have been diagnosed with cancer, and one has been fighting for his life, on ECMO, since early December. My heart wants to cry, “Enough already!” and yet the hurt and uncertainty continue to linger.
Perhaps you can relate. I suspect that, if everyone reading this devotional pooled their stories, we could fill a book. Or two. Or more.
So what’s the key to hanging onto hope during these seasons when they come? Here are three things to remember:
- God is with us.
Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused of sexual assault, and forgotten in prison. I wonder if he sometimes felt like God had turned His back on him. Nonetheless, Scripture says that God was with him (Genesis 39:2,3,21,23).
The enemy will try to convince us that God has abandoned us, but don’t be deceived. God has not changed. His faithfulness remains the same, therefore, rest assured that He is with us as we deal with difficulty. He will never leave us.
- Our trials are temporary.
Joseph’s hardships lasted about 14 years. Some of you might think that’s a long time, but others might think, If only mine were so short-lived. No matter the length of time our difficulties stay, it’s easy to lose sight of the truth when we’re in the middle of the mess. The truth is – our trials will not last forever (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Joseph’s hardships lasted until “the time came for [the LORD] to fulfill his word (Psalm 105:19). Ours, too, will end at just the right time. So, again—be encouraged. This too shall pass. We might not know when they’ll end or what the process will look like enroute, but they will not last forever.
- Our trials are part of a picture that’s bigger than the one we see at this time.
Joseph’s hardships were divinely designed. Psalm 105:17-18 say, “Then he [God] sent someone to Egypt ahead of them—Joseph, who was sold as a slave. There in prison, they bruised his feet with fetters and put his neck in an iron collar. Until the time came to fulfill his word, the LORD tested Joseph’s character.”
Why did God deem it necessary to test Joseph using these means? Because He planned to make Joseph second-in-command in Egypt. God wanted to prepare him for the task, and this was the best way to do it.
God has purposes yet unseen for our lives, too. Every one of the hardships we experience are part of the pruning and honing necessary to prepare us. They’re also designed to make us more like Jesus no matter what our destiny is (Romans 8:28, 29).
Father God, we don’t understand why hard seasons come our way. But we belong to You, and we want Your highest purpose fulfilled in and through us. So help us remember that You’re with us, hard seasons are temporary, and they’re part of a bigger picture than the one we see now. We trust You with our pain. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
This article brought to you be the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Grace Fox co-directs an international missionary sending agency, speaks at women’s events overseas and across North America, and has authored 12 books. She’s a regular contributor to Mornings with Jesus (Guideposts), a member of the “First 5” writing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries, and co-host of the podcast “Your Daily Bible Verse.” Her new devotional Keeping Hope Alive: Devotions for Strength in the Storm releases today and is available wherever Christian books are sold. www.gracefox.com/blog www.fb.com.gracefox.author
Join the conversation. Are you in a hard season?