When Life is Tough

by Monica Schmelter @monicaschmelter

God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.                                                                                                                                             Psalm 46:1 CSB

When it comes to having tough times, it’s not a matter of if, but when. So it’s helpful to be prepared and pliable. As the proverb says, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” Proverbs 22:3 NLT It’s a caution to keep an eye on our lives and what’s around us.

One way to prepare is to know the firm ground on which we stand. The following biblical truths are essential for a firm foundation.

God is good.

God is near.

God is working.  

God is Good.

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8 NLT)

God’s heart toward us is always good. He loves us. His love does not prohibit tough seasons of life, but will see us through. His love provides a foundation for us to stand on during every season of our lives, in chaos and in peace. In your tough season, let the fact you are unconditionally loved strengthen and encourage you.

God is Near.

Even in the middle of our toughest seasons, God is near. He stands ready to help us when we need it the most. There is no place we can go that He has not gone before us. He understands completely.

“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4: 14-16 NLT).

Allow this Scripture to speak directly to your heart. I am in a very tough season of life. When I read this Scripture, I ask God to help me in the way He sees to be best. Even when I feel alone or abandoned, I believe His Word is truth—He says He is near, full of grace, and willing to help. I believe His Word over what I see, think, and feel. As we dare to believe His Word over our circumstances we grow and mature in our faith.

God is Working.

He is working on our behalf whether we can see or understand it.

 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT).

If you’re in a tough season, dare to believe His Word. He promises that He is working on our behalf. He promises that He is bringing good. Dare to believe His promises.

God has a way of maturing our faith through hard times in our lives. Of course, we are responsible to do what we can during those seasons, but for all the things outside of our control, we trust in God’s goodness, in His nearness, and dare to believe He’s working all things for our good.

TWEETABLE
When Life is Tough – encouragement from @MonicaSchmelter on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

monicaheadshot (1)About the Author: Monica Schmelter is the General Manager of WHTN (Christian Television Network) and host of the daily television program Bridges. You can learn more by visiting monicaschmelter.com.

Got a junk drawer? Ever find yourself stuffing stray items in there without thinking? Monica’s book, Messy to Meaningful, will help you sift through and sort out the unnecessary spiritual things weighing you down. Stop holding on to so much junk that you can’t fit in the good things the Lord is calling you to. Monica and co-authors Rhonda Rhea and Kaley Rhea will take you through your junk drawer and make you laugh along the way. Find yourself some beautiful…free.

Join the conversation: What foundational truths are helpful for you in times of trouble?

The Cave

by Debora M. Coty @DeboraCoty

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1, NIV

I don’t like this cave I’m in. Not one bit.

It’s dark. It’s uncomfortably damp. And it smells like rancid mushrooms.

I feel terribly alone one minute, and the next, I’m not sure I’m alone at all. I think I can hear someone – or something – breathing. If I strain hard enough in the darkness, I can make out the shape of a man on the far side of the cave.

Still. Silent. Facing me.

I feel my skin crawl. But I’ve no one to blame but myself. I chose to come in here. I slipped into the cave of disappointment on my own volition. No one chased me here or forced me to enter.  It just seemed the only place to go under the circumstances I was facing. Hard times. Heartache. Uncertainty.

So here I am. Hating the darkness and wishing I could find a way to escape this cave of disappointment. Disappointment over people I thought I knew and trusted. Disappointment in witnessing injustice and helplessly watching those I love suffer.

Disappointment with life itself.

I’m reminded of a biblical shepherd-king named David. He spent a lot of time in caves too. He was running from a man (Saul) he once trusted and even revered; a hand-picked-by-God king whom David had been honored to serve and comfort with music during his deepest emotional struggles.

A man who then turned on David and sought to take his life.

And so David fled to caves (documented in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel). Many different caves over the years. Many different disappointments. David was forced to live life on the run.

A cave-dwelling fugitive.

And there he must’ve shivered like me in the cold blackness, feeling the deep disappointments of life to the marrow of his bones.

The Cave is an awful place. It sucks light, joy, and hope right out of us. Drains us dry. Because it makes us overlook all the things we have to be grateful for, all the blessings of life that our Papa God has lavished upon us. Things we forget to notice when times get hard. When things don’t turn out the way we envisioned; when dear ones betray us and God seems silent. When we’ve lost jobs, security, mentors, friends, health, or the dreams we secretly nurtured.

And we cannot fathom the why of it.

We all spend time in The Cave. It’s where Papa God does some of His finest character-sculpting. The Cave is where He keeps his sharpest chisels and coarsest sanders. Where He meets us one-on-one, to shape and mold us into the beloved son or daughter He’s had in mind for us to be from the very beginning.

“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love” (Ephesians 1:4, MSG).

Mother Teresa, who spent quite a few of her precious years here on earth in The Cave, said, “You’ll never know Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you’ve got.” In her own barren cave of disappointment, she learned that when all else seems lost, He is enough. And He was.

You know, the more I stare through the murkiness of this cave, I can begin to make out the identity of the shape over there, patiently biding time, watching me.

It’s … why, it’s Jesus.

I get the feeling He’s been waiting there a long time for me to notice that I’m not alone. And now He’s drawing nearer. There’s a warm light radiating from His eyes. I think He’s got something in His hand. And He’s smiling.

TWEETABLE
The Cave – insight from @DeboraCoty on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

deboracotyAbout the author: Debora Coty lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband, Chuck, two grown children and four energetic grandbuddies. Debora is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 40 inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.

Debora’s newest release, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Momsaddresses the heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos.

Join the conversation: Tell me, dear friend, when did you last spent time in The Cave?