I don’t have to even explain. You know what’s going on. Covid-19 reports, numbers, statistics, research, economical effects, death rates and the like are being blasted at you from every which way.
We as the human race are going through some very tumultuous times. Perhaps you were looking to start a new year with gusto and renewed vision only to have all of your plans challenged, delayed or all together cancelled.
I feel you on that. Not only do I relate, but I also want to give you some encouragement. I want to leave you with three truths to hang on to as you navigate through hard times in life.
Truth #1: Hard times are to be expected
Covid-19 is the proveribal wet blanket on what was supposed to be a fire year. Maybe this was going to be the year for you. I can’t tell you how many friends I have that were planning vacations, getting married, graduating and planning amazing life events this year only to have them completely cancelled. It is truly sad.
If you are like me, I find myself thinking of the day when this is all over and the Covid-19 tsunami is a thing of the past. I imagine life like it used to be. I imagine life completely normal with absolutely no issues. If only!
The truth is that even when this current global pandemic is no longer the controlling headline, something else at some point will come up. Hard times have hit us in the past. Hard times are here now. Hard times will be sure to come back to see us again. This is the harsh reality of our human experience.
Jesus himself told us that we would encounter hardships.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
The fact that we are facing a global pandemic, even though it’s nothing we who are alive have ever seen before, is nothing that we should be surprised about. In this world we will have trouble.
The thing I love about this verse is that Jesus is telling us that we will experience trouble. But he doesn’t just end there, He goes on to encourage us saying “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” He doesn’t say that we’re in trouble and He’s overcome the trouble. He saying that He has overcome the very source of our trouble.
There is nothing beyond His dominion, nothing out of His powerful control. And if He has overcome the world, then as His co-heirs, we too have overcome the world! (Romans 8:17, 1 John 5:4)
Truth #2: Hard times are the litmus tests of our lives.
Okay, raise your hand if you have a chemistry degree. Yeah…my hand is not raised. I really enjoy science, but when you add math to it? Aight, imma head out. Chemistry is not my fav, but I do remember a few things from almost blowing off my eyebrows in class.
One of the most routine parts of chemistry is the litmus test. A litmus test is conducted to find out the alkalinity or acidity of a particular solution. This was the part of class that made me feel very *scientist-y*.
It was fun watching the paper change colors and then finding out if something was an acid, a base or neutral. That test would reveal to me what I was working with.
Hard times are the litmus tests of our lives in that they show us what we are really all about. They show us where we stand. They show us what we treasure and reveal where we are lacking. It’s as if the hard times in our life pull the curtain back and reveal what’s really inside of us.
I distinctly remember when my mom passed away, that I was so desperate for God. I knew that no other person, place or thing would bring me the comfort that I needed so badly.
It was a strange feeling. I knew in my mind that God was close to me. He promised to never leave me or forsake me. I knew He was right there with me, but in my heart He felt so far away.
I knew then, in the middle of my pain, where I stood with God. It wasn’t that He was far from me. It’s that I was far from Him. In my hard moment, I was able to sense that there was space between us. Space that was created not by rebellion and outright disobedience, but by business and lack of prioritizing my time with Him.
Isn’t it true though? There’s nothing like a job loss to help you realize how much you overspend. One unfavorable lab report can help you realize how you don’t prioritize your health. Getting dumped is the quickest way to realize how little time you were spending with everyone else in your life.
Hard times test us to show us what we are made of. It’s up to us whether we change for the better.
Truth #3: Hard times are the best time for change.
Maybe this pandemic or another hard situation has made you push pause on your entire life. This is the time where you stop and begin to recalibrate. Stop and assess what is really important. Observe. Re-evaluate. Take into account all the many facets of your life. To what do you hold dear? What is there too much of? What is lacking?
Hard times can be used as a way to help us recalibrate our lives. We have this promise as believers that hard times don’t just come to hit us over the head. We serve a God who can take these hard times which have the potential to hurt us permanently, and instead use them for our benefit.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
ALL THINGS. Good things and bad things work together for the good of those that love Him. Don’t just allow hard times to hit you. Allow hard times to mold you, to shape you and to change you.
“ For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” 2 Cor .4:17
These afflictions or “hard times” are working for us and working in us a weight of glory. Only God can take the weight of the world off of our hearts and replace it with the weight of His Glory. This is what I want to see happen for me. This is what I would love to see happen for you too, but it change takes action on our part.
Never again in your life will you ever have the time to make changes like you do right now.
Whatever it is that you want to change, now is the time! Life as we know it has slowed down to a glacial place like never before in our lifetime. Once things begin to resemble life as it was pre-pandemic, our days will return to warp speed once again.
Never again in your life will you ever have the time to make changes like you do right now. Don’t waste these days!
How tragic would it be to go through a hard time and come out of it completely unchanged? What goals do you have for yourself? Perhaps you have spiritual goals to know God more intimately. Maybe you have financial goals. You may even have goals for your fitness. Whatever they may be, right now is the time to do something different.
I want to encourage you that if you feel God calling you to action, calling you to level up in an area of your life, don’t waste this moment. Take advantage of this opportunity.
Hard times will come, yes. But don’t just bunker down, wait for trouble to pass and then wipe your forehead with a sigh of relief when things get back to normal. Instead, ask God to reveal to you what He sees when He looks at you and pray that He would give you the fortitude and determination to make the appropriate changes in your life.
My friend, my prayer for you is that you would walk away from reading this feeling inspired and challenged to no longer allow life to just happen to you. You were designed for a purpose. You were designed for more.
What changes do you want to see for yourself in the midst of a hard time? Let me know in the comments or send me a message. I would love to hear your thoughts!