Overcomer: Finding Strength in Hard Seasons

Overcoming difficult seasons can feel impossible when you’re going through them. But thankfully, God is able to do more than what we ask or imagine.

Overcoming difficult seasons can feel impossible when you’re going through them. But thankfully, God is able to do more than what we ask or imagine.

The Strength to Endure

Have you ever found yourself in a hard season that doesn’t seem to end? Maybe you’ve been stripped of comforts you’d grown accustomed to, or perhaps you’ve battled feelings of disappointment or defeat. Whatever you’ve faced, you’re not alone in your experience.

Job: lost his wealth, resources, authority, family, health, and friendships.

The prophet Jeremiah: watched his country fall apart and his friends get dragged away into exile.

The prophet Isaiah: was allegedly sawn in half for prophesying. He died without seeing the Savior he talked about.

The twelve apostles: endured assassination attempts, persecution, starvation, imprisonment, isolation, disease, and death. They all died anticipating Christ’s return.

Scripture is filled with accounts of people who endured immense pain, suffering, hardship, and loss. But these people persevered because they knew that nothing — not even death — could exclude them from God’s eternal promises.

Because our world is broken, bad things happen. When we find ourselves in situations that are beyond our control, disappointment is natural and grief is necessary.

But even moments of extreme grief, pain, hurt, and disappointment Jesus can turn into amazing displays of His goodness and grace.

Enduring Trials

Abraham was used to waiting. He waited 25 years for God to give him his son, Isaac. And, he spent most of his life wandering in foreign lands, trusting that God would show him where to go next. Imagine what Abraham must have been thinking when one day God asks him to kill the son he’d waited years for.

No one would have blamed Abraham if he said “no” or became bitter, defensive, angry, or fearful. But instead, he chooses to live within the tension of trusting that God will intervene, and to worship God even if He doesn’t. Abraham even tells Isaac that “God will provide for himself a lamb” — as he prepares to sacrifice him.

In the end, God does spare Isaac’s life, and He reveals the reason for His odd request: He never wanted Isaac’s death — He wanted Abraham’s complete obedience.

Sacrifices matter to God when they’re born out of obedience because true obedience is a faith-filled act of sacrificial love.

Trials test the extent of our obedience by revealing what our faith is founded in. If we say we love God but we allow our circumstances to dictate our responses to tough situations, then we have more faith in our circumstances than in our God.

But, if our faith is rooted in the God who has authority over all things, then we, like Abraham, can walk into the unknown embracing the tension of believing God can restore all things — and worshiping Him even if He doesn’t.

Enduring Disappointment

Joseph, the favorite son of a wealthy land-owner, had his whole life ahead of him — and he knew it. He even dreamed about what his future would look like until, one day, his brothers sold him to human traffickers. In an instant, Joseph is stripped of his family, future, position, and resources. Every plan for his life is shattered.

As a slave in Egypt, he is betrayed again and finds himself in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. But no matter what he goes through, he never stops trusting God…and God never stops showing Joseph favor and love.

After two years in prison, Joseph gets promoted to second in command of Egypt. Ultimately, he ends up rescuing thousands of people from a seven-year famine — including his brothers.

Every painful experience of Joseph’s past prepared him for a future purpose that would impact countless lives.

Maybe in some way you can relate to Joseph. Perhaps you’ve been betrayed by someone you trusted. Or, perhaps you’ve found yourself wondering why your life is filled with disappointment and hardship. Maybe your life just doesn’t look like the one you dreamed of for yourself.

Whatever you’re facing, God has a perfect record of turning broken hopes and dreams around for our good and His glory. He has never stopped working in your life. No matter what hardships you face, God will continue to show you favor and love when you continue to walk with Him. And when you walk with God, nothing you go through is wasted.

Enduring Setbacks

As a teenager, David was anointed as the next king of Israel. But instead of ascending the throne in a blaze of glory, he spent years running from Israel’s current king who repeatedly tried to kill him.

During this time, David laments to God: he has honest conversations about his situation while holding onto the hope that God can — and will — restore him.

David’s laments allowed him to express his grief, cry out for justice, and remember God’s faithfulness. Focusing on God’s faithfulness reminded David of God’s character, and knowing God’s character helped him hold onto hope. That’s why, even in the hardest of situations, David could say, “You [God] are my place of refuge, you are what I really want in life.” (Psalm 142:5)

What David may not have known during his years as a fugitive was that this experience was actually training him to become the leader and warrior Israel needed. The setbacks he endured strengthened his character and paved the way for his future purpose.

When you find yourself surrounded by opposition, grief can be a gift that helps you make sense of your situation. But grieving isn’t the end of your journey.

When you place your hope in Jesus, you never grieve in vain because the God who was is also the God who does. That’s why, no matter what you face, you can hold onto this hope: Jesus can turn your setbacks and sorrows into setups for your good and His glory. He can take your pain and use it for His purposes. He can make a way through your desert seasons. As you continue to draw close to Him, you just might discover that your current struggle is training you for future purposes He has for you and those around you.

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