This is an encouraging word from Bobby Conner. God tells us in His Word that in this world we will have difficulty but that He will be with us and will see us through. Bobby does an excellent job of reminding us of that. He also gives us 9 ways to encourage ourselves as we're going through adverse situations.
How to Face the Future with the Peace of God
Difficulties are Certain…But His Presence is More Certain!
As followers of Christ, we are not immune from the difficulties of life. Scripture clearly declares that "all that will live godly in this present world shall suffer difficulty"(2 Timothy 3:12). Nevertheless, in the midst of troubles, God always provides a way of escape. The escape, however, is neither the absence of adversity nor the final end of problems. The escape is not a path toward a problem-free life; the "escape" is the company and help of a Person in the midst of our troubles, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who will be with us "in the valley of the shadow of death" (Psalm 23:4).
When our heart is broken and our dreams are shattered – when we face devastation beyond our strength or understanding – we have the guaranteed, blessed assurance of Christ's abiding Presence within us (Psalm 34:18). His Presence and precious promises alone offer peace and joy in the midst of chaos and disappointment.
If we're facing unpaid bills, for example, we can experience peace and joy! Why? Christ is with us, holding our hand and offering His promise of provision (Philippians 4:19). If we're facing a serious doctor's report, we can experience peace and joy! Why? Christ is with us, holding our hand and offering His promise of healing (Exodus 15:26).
The promise of Hebrews 13:5-6 releases confidence and courage to face every trial:
...for God Himself has said, "I will never, never let go your hand: I will never, never forsake you." So that we fearlessly say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid: what can man do to me?" (New Testament Modern Speech)
Indeed, God's grace is available and adequate to sustain us no matter the nature of the troubles we face (2 Corinthians 12:9) – be our trial an illness, unemployment, betrayal, the loss of a loved one or unspeakable pain and injustice, or all of these difficulties together at once! Meditate on this promise of Isaiah 43:2 and let God's living Word impart lasting peace and joy to the depths of your mind and heart:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.
As Believers we are called to believe His Word. If we do, we will indeed experience victory in every battle (Joshua 1:8). Here are some simple steps to follow when you feel the storms of life swirling around you and your loved ones and your peace and joy are beginning to wane (Psalm 27:13). You can and will overcome in the midst of life's difficulties (Romans 8:37):
1. Choose to Believe
How, you ask, can I face the future with peace and joy when my circumstances overwhelm me daily? Dear Believer, there is hope for you (Psalm 32:7)! First, you must realize that your future depends upon your choices in the present: adversity can make you bitter or better, depending on how you respond. The only right response is to choose to turn to God and believe His Word. Only then will you enjoy His Presence, experience true peace and overcome adversity (Isaiah 41:10).
Does this sound impossible? Do you feel that your troubles prevent you from turning to God and experiencing His Presence? The Scripture promises that we can turn to the Lord no matter our distress (Nahum 1:7). Nothing in Heaven or on earth can prevent us from experiencing His love: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [Shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" The answer is no one and nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35)!
For many Believers, life is a grinding test of endurance. Nevertheless, difficult circumstances will never separate us from God's love and protection. This same Scripture from Romans 8:38-39 in the New Living Translation reads:"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away."
Scripture also reminds us that, "In Your presence [is] fullness of joy; At Your right hand [are] pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11). In God's Presence is everything we need to overcome in every situation (Psalm 46:1).
2. Rejoice at Midnight
We find a vivid example of overcoming adversity in the experience of Paul and Silas in prison. How were these precious men of God reacting to harsh imprisonment and gross injustice? Were they complaining, crying and lamenting their misfortunes at the midnight hour? Hardly! They were praying and praising God – and the result was freedom (Acts 16:25)!
By the grace of God, a victorious attitude like theirs is exactly what we can experience during our times of adversity. Worshipping God despite our current circumstances, no matter how difficult, will surely gain us the victory in God's time and in His manner (Philippians 4:6-8). It's vital to understand that we worship and praise God now because He has already gained for us the victory – the battle has already been waged and won on our behalf. We have ample reason to rejoice!
What, then, is our responsibility during times of difficulty? Our job is not to muster up the victory ourselves but to believe and declare God's goodness and then wait with expectancy to see how He intervenes. And surely our faith-filled rejoicing will get people's attention! Rejoicing in adversity is likely to cause a commotion in Heaven and on earth (Acts 16:23-40) and brings glory to God.