Most of us, at some point in our lives, have gone through hard times. You know, times when it seems as though everything and everyone is against you. You can’t seem to do anything right, you can’t get anything done, bad things and bad luck just haunt you, and frustration is a constant.
During these “ruts” in our lives, it seems we need one of those famous “Dummies” books titled, “How to Trust God in Difficult Times” for Dummies. Actually, it’s a lot easier than even that…………
How to Trust God in Difficult Times – For ANYONE
Difficult and challenging times in our lives will bring out the best OR the worst in us. It’s these times that generally we end up getting ourselves into more trouble than when the rut started to begin with. Why is that? As if things aren’t bad enough, we reach out to a friend for help or really put forth our best effort to turn things around and………………it only gets worse. Why?
Hard times do not discriminate. They can and will happen to anyone at anytime. But what if God himself is responsible for those so-called, “hard times”. Or, what if in spite of your best and most intelligent efforts, YOU are responsible for making things worse?
In the Bible, Joshua 1:9 states it pretty clearly; “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go”.
This is very clear. We have been commanded by God himself to be strong, have courage, and not to be afraid. God himself, THE maker of everything, has said he’d be with us wherever we go. With a person as great as Him with us, what is there to be afraid of anyway?
You CANNOT Get Yourself Out of That Mess!
Proverbs 3:5-6 provides us with a hint as to exactly why we just end up making things worse whenever we try to get ourselves out of bad situations. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight“.
There you have it. Re-read that bolded and underlined portion above. In short, stop relying on what YOU think are the right things to do and lean on God; you’re only making things worse!!
God has a plan for all of us. More than likely, these plans are complicated and involve directions, twists and turns and reasoning so complicated that it is all beyond our understanding. Stop questioning God, second guessing His plan, and trying to do your own “thing”.
Instead, rely on Him. Lean on Him. Trust that this path He’s leading you on is THE path. When we try to take matters into our own hands, we very well may be going against a plan already put in place by God himself. Do you seriously think you can go against God and put in a better plan yourself to get through something? Not a chance. Instead, ask God for a way out.
How do I know what God is Saying?
Imagine you’re on your way driving to a place you’ve never been, but you’re somewhat familiar with the area. You take that handy-dandy GPS, plug in the address to your destination, and off you go. You “think” you’re getting close to your destination but your GPS is telling you to go in a direction completely unfamiliar to you and one that goes against your instincts. Instinctively, you know the area, you’ve been around there before, and how do you know that GPS is right anyway?
That little voice coming out of your GPS is telling you to turn left but instead, you “know a better way” and so you turn right. Thirty minutes later, you’re still not where you should be, you’re lost, and now frustrated. What do you do? You turn off that annoying GPS that keeps repeating “turn around”. An hour later, now you’re really frustrated and so you pull over. You turn that GPS back on and decide to give in and follow it. Five minutes later you’re right where you could have been an hour ago had you just followed the directions you were already being given instead of following your own plan.
Are you turning God off in the same way as that GPS was turned off? Sometimes, quite often actually, the plans He has for us go completely against our instincts. We may be familiar with the territory we’ve gotten ourselves into, we may have seen this sort of thing or read about it time and time again, so we “think” we know just what to do. But do we? Do you really think you’re smarter than God……….?
Of course not you say! OK, well then why would you ignore Him and go off on your own path?
This Whole Thing is a Test – Will You Pass?
In Deuteronomy 8:2, in speaking to the ancient Israelites, God clearly shows us that He WILL test us. “Remember how the Lord your God ledA)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-5140A”> you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and testB)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-5140B”> you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” God will not tempt us, so do not confuse temptation with testing. But He tests us to strengthen us and build up our faith in Him so we’ll stop going off on our own direction.
James 1:2-3 further gives us proof of this: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance”. Here, the psalmist is telling us to actually celebrate hard times! Welcome them. Why? Because its actually God himself speaking to us, using us, and testing us.
Who do you turn to during hard times? The internet is FULL of “good advice” and “forums” on how to get through all sorts of situations life will throw at you. But is it really just life in general throwing things at you? What if it’s God himself throwing that at you just to see if you’ll come ask him for a way out, then follow the directions he gives you? And when you do ask, will you follow or ignore Him, turn Him off, and go off on your “better way”? The choice is yours, but will you pass the test?