The headlines point to it. Your neighbors talk about it. Your heart feels it. Just about everyone is going through hard times right now! But let’s face it: Life is hard, even in the easiest of times. Disappointments, illnesses, broken relationships, dashed dreams. What does the Bible say about getting through adversity?
Plenty, actually! God knows His children live in a fallen world and He has not left us to suffer alone.
First, when we’re in the midst of hard times, it can be difficult to remember that nothing happens without the knowledge of God, who “works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). You are not a victim of random occurrences; you are a child of your Heavenly Father who wants to turn adversity into opportunity!
We also need to keep uppermost in our minds that hardships don’t last forever—but the things we learn from them do. Paul calls writes in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18,
“Therefore we do not lose heart. . . . For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Adversity in God’s hands can wean us of our self-dependency and pride. It can push us into deeper intimacy with Jesus. It can redirect our paths toward our greater good, and toward God’s greater glory.
Tough times also can reshape us. Think about Romans 5:1-5, in which Paul says that “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope… Or 1 Peter 5:10, in which the apostle Peter teaches that “the God of all grace … after you have suffered a little, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.”
Who doesn’t want to be a person of character, full of hope, strong and steadfast?
It’s all in how you react, isn’t it? A good place to start is to discern the source of the adversity. Is it just circumstances? Maybe you’ve lost your job due to the pandemic, or your chronic illness has flared up because of stress. You could be suffering from physical exhaustion after transitioning your children home, setting up a homeschool, and juggling your “regular” job (now based at home too).
There are other causes of difficulties, of course. Natural consequences of sin and disobedience, for one. Or perhaps God is disciplining you for your own good. Remember what the writer of the book of Hebrews teaches?
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 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 5:7, 10-11).
I think the overall message from God’s Word is to turn to Him and trust Him. Persevere! That’s what Hebrews says: “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:36).
Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Don’t opt out! Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
You aren’t going through hard times alone. No matter what, remember to Keep Pressing Ahead.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip