HOLDING ON TO YOUR FAITH
DURING DIFFICULT TIMES
In this study, we will
look at some biblical principles that we should reflect on while we are going
through difficult times.
Have you ever been so discouraged that
you felt like giving up on your faith?
HERE ARE THREE PRINCIPLES THAT WE SHOULD
REFLECT ON WHEN WE ARE SUFFERING PHYSICALLY OR EMOTIONALLY.
DURING OUR TIMES OF SUFFERING, GOD IS NEAR EVEN WHEN HE SEEMS SO FAR AWAY.
Have you ever felt that God was no
where to be found when you needed Him the most?
- When we experience difficult trials and
tribulations, and times of suffering, we normally pray to God and ask Him
for immediate relief. However, as
we all know, God answers prayer in His own time, so we may not receive
immediate help from Him. We may
have to go through many days, or weeks, or months or years of trying
times. And after suffering awhile
we start wondering why God hasn't intervened. We begin questioning ourselves. What have I done to deserve
this and then we begin to question whether or not God even cares. We feel as though God has abandoned us
and that He is nowhere to be found.
We feel alone and isolated from God.
In (Psalm 13:1), how did David feel
while he was running for his life from Saul?
- David experienced a feeling of isolation from
God. He believed that God was not
with him during his time of intense trials.
- Brethren, it is common and natural to feel
isolated from God when we experience difficult times, however, the Bible
assures us that God is present even when He seems far away.
Even when God seems 1,000 miles away
and uninterested in our affairs, He is with us step-by-step during our
difficult times. A wonderful
illustration of this unseen presence is described in (Luke 24:13-35). Read these verses and share how they
illustrate God's unseen presence in time of need.
- In this passage, two of Jesus’ disciples were
walking toward a village called Emmaus.
They just came from Jerusalem and were undoubtedly very upset and
depressed because they witnessed the crucifixion of their Lord Jesus. They were not only discouraged because
Jesus was dead, but also because it was the third day and they had hoped
that Jesus would have been raised from the dead, as their Lord
promised. They must have given up
hope on Jesus’ resurrection and decided to head home, back to their old
way of life. But as they were
walking, something marvelous happened.
In (vv. 15 & 16), the
Bible said, “As they talked and discussed these things with each other,
Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.” These men, who were most certainly
experiencing emotional and spiritual pain because of Jesus’ death, did not
know that Jesus was walking right along with them the whole time. During their time of anguish, Jesus was
next to their side.
- My friends, if we are faithful, God is walking
right along with us especially during our times of suffering, even when we
feel isolated from Him. He has not
abandoned us, for we are His children and He loves us and cares for
us. We must realize that He is
watching over us and is doing what is best for us. (1
Pet. 5:7) tells us to cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for
us. Does this sound like a God who
cares little about our problems? When
we suffer, we may feel isolated from God, but the reality is that God is
with us step-by-step. Isn't that
GOD'S TIMING IS PERFECT WITH HIS ASSISTANCE, EVEN WHEN HE APPEARS
When we suffer, we naturally want God
to immediately take away our pain. But
sometimes, we think that He can be agonizingly slow in solving the problems
that we bring to His attention. Tell us
of a time where you felt that God was slow with His assistance.
But even though at times God seems to
be late with His assistance, I would like to say that His timing is always
perfect. In (John 11:1-46), Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. How does this story show that God's timing
is always perfect?
- (John 11:1-46) tells the story of Mary, Martha,
and their brother Lazarus. The
members of this little family were among Jesus’ closest friends during the
time of His earthly ministry. In
fact, verse 5 says, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”
- Well, one day, Lazarus became very ill, almost
to the point of death, so his sisters did the logical thing--they sent an
urgent note to Jesus, saying, “Lord, the one you love is sick” (v.
3). Now they had every reason to
believe He would immediately respond.
However, days had passed before Jesus finally made it to Lazarus
and by that time it was too late, he had already died. On Jesus’ arrival, we read that Martha
came to Jesus and said, “if you had been here, my brother would not have
died.” Do you think that Martha
could have been a bit discouraged that Jesus was to late? Could she have been annoyed when He
showed up because she expected Jesus to be there for them. She may have been tempted to say,”
Where have you been, Sir? You’re
too late now. You could have saved
him, but apparently there were more important things on your mind.” Do we at times get angry at God because
of His delayed timing?
- But in (v.
43), Jesus performed one of His most dramatic miracles as He called
Lazarus out of the tomb. You see,
Jesus was not late at all. He only
appeared to be overdue. He arrived
at the precise moment necessary to fulfill the purposes of God--just as He
always does. God’s purpose was
fulfilled through Lazarus because in v. 45, we read that many Jews because
of what they had seen but their faith in Jesus. You see, Brethren, God is never late when it comes to Him
handling our painful situations.
He is always on time: His time and not our time. When we suffer, there is a possibility
that God is allowing us to go through it for His purpose and for our own
Why does God allow us to suffer instead
of immediately taking care of our problems?
- In (Rom. 5:3-4), we read that suffering will
build our character. Suffering
makes us stronger and better Christians.
DURING OUR TIMES OF SUFFERING, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO DO IS KEEP OUR FAITH
AND TRUST IN GOD.
Why do some people, after experiencing
a tragic situation, blame God and give up on their faith? Should we blame God for all of the tragedies
in the world?
- Some people believe that God is the one who
brought the disaster so they blame Him and give up their faith.
- Some people blame God for things that He doesn’t
do. For example, if a brother or
sister in Christ dies tragically, some people reply, “It was just God’s
will,” even though the brother or sister was killed by a drunk driver or
gunned down by an angry person.
God never put the liquor in that driver, or a bullet in that
person’s gun, and God did not kill those people. Some events that happen
are not God’s will. Many tragic
events are caused by the devil. He
has the “power of death” (Heb. 2:14).
He is responsible for the illnesses and accidents that cause pain
and death (Jn. 8:44). The devil
brought sickness and death into the world by bringing sin into the world,
and he is still doing it today.
Yes, God allows terrible things to happen, but the only way He
could avoid that would be to take away our power of choice and make us all
robots. Bad things happen to good
people. However, for Christians,
according to (Rom. 8:28 NASV), “God causes all things to work together for
good to those who love God.” In
other words, even out of the bad things that Satan brings into our lives –
accidents, sickness, etc. – God will bring good out of them for us, if we
let Him. From suffering we learn
humility and patience. From the
death of a loved one, we learn compassion and the power of faith and
What did Job do after he experienced
severe tragedy in his life (Job 1:2)?
- When Job lost his sons and daughters, his
wealth, his servants, and was stricken with painful soars that spanned
throughout his body, it would have been easy for him to blame God and
abandon his faith. However, the
Bible says that Job “fell to the ground” (Job 1:20) and worshipped
God. He held onto his faith in God
even thought his life was full of pain and agony. When we go through tough times, the
most important thing for us to do is to keep our faith in God.
According to (Revelation 2:10), what
will we receive if we remain faithful to God?
- Brethren, we must never give up on God and our
faith just because we go through suffering situations. We must “Be faithful, even to the point
of death” and the Bible says that Jesus will “give us the crown of life” (Rev.
The Bible teaches us
that we are going to suffer in many different ways. And when we suffer, let us remember these three important
principles: (a) If we are faithful, God is present, even when He seems far away;
(b) God’s timing is perfect, even when He appears catastrophically late; and
(c) During our times of suffering, the most important thing to do is keep our
faith and trust in God.
If you have been
suffering as of late, I hope that this message has uplifted your spirit.
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