When the Going Gets Tough, Stand Firm

What if the purpose of this season is to teach me patience, perseverance and persistence and not to physically hurt me or keep me in a place of uncertainty or discomfort?  What if the circumstances I am in are to make me stronger and build character rather than break me down and leave me defeated? 

It’s very easy to allow thoughts to fill our minds while adding salt to the wound. This can make the situation appear worse than it actually is. My experience over the last few months has had me on a rollercoaster of emotions. 

I am learning that moments of despair and confusion should be the perfect moments to draw us closer to the Father, rather than away from Him. Our emotions may be inconsistent, we experience ups and downs in life but we must remember the only one that stays constant in our lives is God. When the going gets tough we need to stand firm, instead of running away from the pain. 

Counting it all joy

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4, New King James Version)

We are actually to rejoice in the Lord always whether things are good or bad. This is something I have been trying to understand. How do we continue to keep our cool and protect our peace while the storm is raging around us. I have been wondering what it looks like to ‘count it all joy’ when moments such as these occur. This season of my life has taught me what it means to ‘count it all joy’ and to ‘rejoice in suffering.’ It makes no sense at all, but it pertains to peace, a peace that surpasses human understanding. It is in our ability to sustain a sense of peace and joy, our faith remains constant when things go wrong. When we don’t have things go our way how do we feel about it? What is our response?

The mind of Christ

We are to have the mind of Christ, observe his character and desire to follow suit. We can see through the life of Christ that His aim was to do the will of God who sent Him. It wasn’t about how He felt when things got tough, but rather the end goal. He always had the end in sight. 

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” (1 Peter 5:10, NKJV)

We are to see the bigger picture like Christ did, there was nothing comfortable about Christ’s assignment. There was a whole lot of pain that came with the responsibility of saving the world. Although I’m sure there were times Christ would not have wanted to be on the cross, He did it anyway because He knew the consequences of not doing so. He also knew of the reward that would follow if He remained committed. Sometimes we want the responsibility of an assignment because of the benefits that come with it, as well as the reward, but we must be willing to take on the challenging side of the responsibility. The challenges come in different forms and we must remember that the bigger the responsibility and call, the bigger the battle that comes with it.  

Rejoicing in suffering

The suffering we encounter through life is inevitable, and there has always been this argument of whether these negative circumstances come from God. I believe God has our best interest at heart and His will for us is good and not evil to give us an expected end. His desire is not to harm us and we must remember that as God is working for us that the enemy is at work against us. We have been given free will, God does not control us as He gives us the freedom to make decisions for ourselves and to choose between good and evil. Sometimes we as human beings make poor choices resulting in negative outcomes. 

God allows for us to experience life, we have good days and bad days, and since the fall of man in the beginning that is how it’s always been. 

It’s up to us how we react to what life throws at us, whether we will choose peace or anxiety, good or evil, life or death. God knows the benefits of our challenges in life he knows that they will:

  1. Perfect us 
  2. Establish us 
  3. Strengthen us 
  4. Settle us 

Why is this happening?

I would like to implore us to consider two perspectives from the question, “Why is this happening to me?” as a tool to understanding the suffering we may experience and to better navigate through the situation. 

Why is this happening to me? Why does this always happen to me? Wondering whether the situation has been caused by a curse or always putting ourselves down because of a continued reoccurrence. This perspective can become self-sabotaging because of self-condemnation and blaming ourselves because we are unable to change things. We end up feeling sorry for ourselves and settling making no effort to push through. 

A better approach to the situation is to ask:

Why is this happening to me? What can I learn from this situation? What character traits does the Lord want me to develop in this season? 

When you change your perspective and begin to see the opportunity for growth in every situation, it allows you to see that no season is ever wasted despite how hard the challenge was to navigate through. Where there is life there is hope. 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.