Even When It’s Hard

Even When It's Hard

Life is pretty crazy at the moment.

I will spare you the details, but let’s just say things are different around here at the moment.

And it’s not easy. I’m easily overwhelmed, and it’s hard at times. Lots of times.

Through all of this, I’m realizing more and more that God is faithful.

In the easy times, and in the hard times, God does not change. He does not leave. He does not forget us. He does not forsake us. He does not revoke His promises. His grace still stands. He never stops loving us. He still protects us, even when it seems like our world is crushing us. He is still with us…even when we can’t feel Him.

Psalm 91 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. And it’s such an encouragement. You all know how much I love words and imagery.

Please do read all of it when you get a chance (it is really beautiful) but here are just the first two verses.

Psalm 91:1-2

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.’”

I always have to remind myself that God is my refuge, and He is faithful when I am faithless.

2 Timothy 2:13

“if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself.”

Psalm 36:5

“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.”

Deuteronomy 7:9

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations[.]”

Even though life is really rough, God keeps His promises about never leaving or forsaking us. It still stands true that God comforts us.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

I know this post is short today. But know this.

Whatever you are going through today, God will be with you. He is faithful, and His promises still stand.

And lastly, one of my favorite verses.

Isaiah 43:2

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

I’m really tired…so I’m not going to say much more. Please know that God is for you and not against you, and that He wants to work good out through your situation.

Trust. The key to everything.

Don’t forget to trust Him who formed you, created the stars, and know every thought you’ll have even before you think it.

Trust Him, for He is trustworthy.

Even when it’s hard.

*aj

So, You Thought It Would Be Easy?

Woman on Lake

Being a Christian is hard.

Yep, you heard that right.

Maybe when you became a Christian, you expected life to get easy. And that is a really popular misconception.

See, when I was a wee little girl (I’ve always wanted to say that), being a Christian meant one thing to me: having Jesus in my heart.

Which, by the way, is the best thing that could ever happen to a person. So that little girl with the teeny little finite mind signed up for a whole new life.

A changed life. A forgiven life. A redeemed life.

And so I did. I asked Jesus to come into my heart, and it is by far the best thing I ever did.

But normally, three-year-old girls don’t get persecuted for their faith. School doesn’t come into the picture until later. Blue’s Clues is the most un-Christian show that they will watch. So in essence, the only thing that really matters when you’re a baby Christian (who is still practically a baby) is how many pictures are in the Bible storybook.

And for years, I had no idea what difficulty really was. Sure, health issues have been predominant in my family at times, but being so young, I had no idea how serious issues really were until they were over, or even years later.

But then I got older.

And I realized that life was, after all, really hard. And being a Christian on top of that made it even harder.

See, when you’re surrounded by people multiple times a week that think that the Christian music that you grew up listening to and singing is “silly religious music”, or someone comments how “innocent” you are, or condescendingly notes that you are different…it can get discouraging.

Like when you’re pressured to do things that you never would’ve dreamed of doing, and you’re ridiculed for saying no. Or when you decide not to be a rebellious teenager, and the world looks at you like you have seventeen heads. Or when you’re labeled weird or awkward because you actually enjoy Church and believe in the Bible. Or when you value modesty and purity.

And you are laughed at, because “nobody actually lives like that.” It hurts, and it cuts deep, because this is your new life…changed life…different life…life that you’ve dedicated to the Author of Your Soul…and it is really hard to hold on to what you believe.

This shouldn’t be this hard! Am I doing something wrong? Am I just not spiritual enough to block out the world?

Being a Christian should be easy…right?

Um. No.

Jesus Himself said this:

John 16:33

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

So, in this world, we will have tribulation. But in Him, we can have peace.

2 Timothy 2:3-4

“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”

I like this a lot, because we are soldiers of Christ Jesus. Imagine you’re halfway across the world, fighting for your country. And then imagine that some random people that live in the country that you’re fighting against ridicule you. At that point, you’d probably say, “I don’t care what you think. I am fighting to serve my country, and please the one that enlisted me, not to make you happy, a mere mortal in opposition to my mission.” Right? Does it really matter what others think of us when we are ultimately serving God?

(The answer is no.)

Romans 8:18

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

We for sure will suffer. That is a non-negotiable fact. But it wont last forever, for we have the amazing hope of heaven.

1 Peter 4:16

“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”

Let us glorify God when we do suffer. We are suffering in the name of Jesus – not in the name of some wacko hillbilly hippie, or some smooth-talking world peace activist, or even a good moral teacher. No, we suffer in the name of JESUS, the Savior of the world, and the Son of God. Now that I think about it…it’s more of an honor than a burden.

And do you want to know something really cool?

Promises are extremely abundant in the Bible. And they’re 100% true. Like this one.

Isaiah 43:2

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

And this one.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

And this one too.

Psalm 22:24

“For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.”

What’s the main point of these amazing promises?

We are going to suffer. It’s going to hurt. And we will be afflicted, and at times it will feel like we are alone.

But we are not alone.

God is with us through it all. He has a plan for our lives, and He always hears us when me cry and call out to Him.

So, does that mean that being a Christian will be easy?

Nah. It’ll be really hard, because the world doesn’t like Truth and Light that radiates from us Christians.

But we do not run alone. For the One who created everything cares about us, and we will never be left on our own.

*aj