Having a Pastor tell a congregation to “Expect Hard” does not come across as uplifting. In fact, it sounds rather deflating. Expect hard? Where’s there good news? My friend sat in church feeling a bit discouraged, when she heard this warning.
And yet, it is better to have the truth rather than sugar coated false promises. The fact is, life is tough. The good news is that the Bible has a lot to say about how to survive hard times.
James tells us to “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:2-3. People I know do not pray for patience. Such a prayer can produce very challenging times making this verse prophetic. Nonetheless, when we’re already in hard time, it helps to know there is a purpose for the hard times. The key in verse two remains to “Count it all joy.” I interpret this as a command to praise God in all things. Praise magnifies God above my circumstances. Praise reminds me that God is bigger than whatever challenging circumstances I am experiencing.
Another promise from God is that He will never give us more than we can handle. “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1Cor 10:13. Whatever you are facing, you can handle it, and do so successfully. Praise brings God into the middle of all of our muddles. Partners with God, we can go through the fire and through the flood on to victory. Ultimately, God’s promise to be with us at all times carries us and sustains us. Isaiah says it so well in Isaiah 43:1,2,5
“Do not fear, for I, the Lord, your creator, have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you,
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched.
Nor will the flame burn you….
Do not fear, for I am with you.”