Moving Forward In Tough Times
Tough times… Trouble. Trials. Tribulation. Temptation. Difficulty. Disappointment. Despair. Sickness. Illness. Disease. Inoperable. Incurable. Misunderstanding. Adversity. Opposition. Persecution. Enemies. Separation. Alienation. Divorce. Broke. Bankrupt. Unemployed. Failures. Futility. Fear. Worry. Hopeless. Pointless.
Losing heart… And so, we give up. We give in. We quit. Quit trying. Quit caring. Quit going. We just quit. Lose the will to fight. Throw in the towel. Call it a game. Cash in it. Concede defeat. Apathy becomes the norm. Disinterest rules the day. We forfeit our future. Settle for less. Embrace the status quo. Convince ourselves that leftovers will do, that leftovers is all we really deserve. Bottom line? Life has brought us to a complete standstill. Doesn’t matter if the light is green. We have pulled over to the shoulder. Turned off the engine. Shut it down. We’re no longer moving forward.
Moving forward… Psalm 46 is not a comprehensive answer to the problem of moving forward in tough times. But it does give us some very practical insight. One of the main emphases of Psalm 46 is concerned with the “location” of God during times of trouble. So often, when life gets tough we are tempted to think that God is distant, that He is somehow removed from the pain and pressure of our day-to-day struggles. Difficult circumstances can give us a distorted perspective. We begin to believe that God has abandoned us. Deserted us. Left us on our own to fight in our own weakness. In our turmoil we look up to heaven and cry from the depths of our soul, “God, where are You? Why have you allowed this to happen?” In my mind I am here, surrounded by problems and adversity that I am powerless to overcome. But God? I’m not real sure where He is at the moment but the voices of fear and worry are screaming to me that He has fled the scene. If I allow my feelings to dictate to my faith, I will buy the lie that God is no longer here.
God with me… Psalm 46 makes it clear. Very clear. Impossible to argue against it. In fact, it’s so important that it tells us not once but twice. “The Lord of hosts is with us;…” God is with us. Always. At all times. In every situation. No matter the need. Trouble does not chase Him away. Tough times do not cause Him to run and hide. Trials and difficulties do not force Him to flee. He is with us in the midst of it all. Compare it to verse 1. He is a very PRESENT help in trouble. He doesn’t send help from a distance. Nope. When we are in trouble, when we need help, God is right there with us, beside us, and even in us through the Person of His Holy Spirit. Personally, I find it a lot easier to keep moving forward when I realize that I am not alone. Never alone. God is with me and He has never and will never leave my side. Every step of the way. No matter how dark the night, no matter how long the journey, no matter how tough the times He will never leave me, abandon me or forsake me. He is with me and He will see me through it all.
The all important who… Maybe you’re like me. I spent years reading through the Bible without ever really stopping to study the Bible. Didn’t bother me much that things like places and names meant nothing to me. I’m so glad that God broke that habit in my life. Lord of hosts? It’s important. It makes all the difference. Because knowing Who is with me is what keeps me moving forward during the tough times. Think military commander. Think ruler. Think king. Think Sovereign. Over humanity. Over creation. Over the heavens. Everything subject to the One who is Sovereign. Nothing outside the realm of His power. Nothing able to elude or evade His plans and purposes. His power is the absolute power, the only real power. Yes, trouble will come. Tough times are going to be a part of life. But I need not fear. I need not give up and give in. I need not quit moving forward in faith. The Lord of hosts is with me. All things bow before Him. His Word is the final word. His will cannot be frustrated. And He has declared that He is causing all things to work together for the good of those who love Him. What is happening to me right now may be very taxing and troubling. It may be tougher than anything I have ever faced before. But the “what” will not win. Not in my life. Because the “Who” that is with me knows no defeat. God is with me. The Lord of hosts is with me. He will get me through.