'Real Answers' by Pastor Bruce Sofia'
QUESTION: WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT DEALING WITH TOUGH TIMES?
No one is immune to tough times. Scripture is quite clear that everyone even the righteous, will face "tough times."
Psalm 34:19 says, Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
The NIV words it: A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him/her from them all.
Although no one likes tough times - we feel out of control, uncomfortable, the unknown is frightening, and the list goes on - they are necessary to our emotional and spiritual maturity.
Romans 5:3-5 tells us, We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; (4)perseverance, character; and character, hope. (5) And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
God is concerned about our character more than anything, and tough times develop our character. In fact, how we respond to the tough times is the key. Are we pliable enough to allow the Potter to mold us on the wheel of trouble, or do we resist the Potter's shaping? Do we learn and allow God to make us like Christ, or do we complain?
When Scripture says, "In everything give thanks" that is exactly what God means. (I Thessalonians 5:18) For when we give thanks we acknowledge that God sees a bigger picture than us, and that He will work out all things for our good...even our times of trouble. (Romans 8:28) Remember, the writer of Hebrews tells us to count hardships (tough times) as discipline from the LORD.
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his Father? (8) If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:7-8,11
I love the words of Job after he had faced his terrible time of trouble - few if any have faced what Job had to face - My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Job 42:5
When trouble comes your way, may you submit to the hand of God's perfection and say with the patriarch, "I have seen God with my own eyes." Don't look at trouble as a curse; look at it as a blessing soon to be realized. However, do remember this - if you don't give your time of trouble to the LORD and ask for Divine intervention, most likely you won't receive it. So ask. Believe. Anticipate. God cannot fail.
Pastor Bruce Sofia