When we are facing hard times, we can even begin to think and feel that God has abandoned us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Years ago I read a poem called ‘Footprints’.
FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking on the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life, For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of life there was only one set of footprints. He noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it: ‘Lord, you said that once I decided to follow You, You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.’
The Lord Replied: ‘My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.’ Author: Carolyn Joyce Carty
Psalm 27:5 ‘For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.’
This is what the Lord promises to do for us when we are facing hard times: He will keep you safe, He will hide you, He will be close to you, and ultimately, He will turn the situation around and help you stand, sure and secure.
BREAKTHROUGH IS OUR DESTINATION
Years ago I heard someone say: ‘Tough times don’t last but tough people do!’ This statement may not be Biblical, but it does remind us that tough times do have an expiry date. Perhaps we could say: ‘Tough/hard/dark times don’t last, but our God is eternal and He will turn things around!’
Isaiah 35:4 Say to those with anxious hearts: ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance. With divine retribution He will come to save you.’
There comes a time when God steps in and changes things. Remember how the people of Israel were in slavery and bondage in Egypt. This dark period lasted for about 400 years. But the day came when God intervened and they were brought out of bondage and slavery. When they crossed the parted sea, they could rejoice and sing. This is the song they sang: ‘I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider He has thrown into the sea.’ I promise you that you will sing again, your heart will beat again, once again you will rejoice and celebrate, when you see the breakthrough that God will bring for you.
KEYS TO TRUSTING GOD DURING THE HARD TIMES
1. Prayer has proved to be a lifeline in my life, especially when going through difficult times. Prayer has the power of shifting our focus off our situation and onto our God. Our God is mighty, powerful, able, and faithful. I have found prayer especially beneficial when I started praying for others. When I shift my focus off myself and my situation, and begin to pray for others, in their distress, it brings perspective and shifts my attention onto others and their needs.
2. Do the possible and leave the impossible to God. Sometimes we think that we are responsible to do the impossible. Let me just release you of that weight. God is responsible for the impossible and we are asked to do what is within our ability to do.
3. Releasing the weight of things to the Lord. Let go of things. Hundreds of years ago, Martin Luther wrote a great hymn: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. In the last verse he wrote these words: ‘Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; the body they may kill, God truth abideth still, His Kingdom is forever.’
The message of these words is that we should not hold too tightly to our possessions, our family, our friends, or to life itself – we should hold tightly to God and the eternal dimension.
4. Find someone, a trusted friend, who you can talk too, or pray with.
5. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Isaiah 50:10 ‘If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God.’
Sometimes when we face darkness or hard times, we may think it is better to wait it out, or ‘sit tight’ until things change – NO, we must keep walking, even when there is no ray of hope. My wife used to sing a little line when things were going rough in our lives or in the lives of our children: ‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…’
6. Choose belief over fear. “Do it afraid!” Believe…
7. Remember, You are not alone.
Jeremiah 16:19 ‘LORD, you are my strength and fortress, my refuge in the day of trouble!’
NOTE: ‘To trust God in the light is nothing, but to trust Him in the dark – that is faith.’ – C.H. Spurgeon
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