Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How to Make it Through Tough Times


On Monday we mused over Proverbs 19:23.

"The fear of the Lord leads to life,
And he who has it will abide in satisfaction;
He will not be visited with evil." NKJV

So what does this verse really mean and how can we apply it to our lives? After all, we live in evil and harmful times. We're not immune to it. In fact, James says in chapter 1:2, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience."

Harm and evil are part of this fallen world. It's inevitable.

Solomon said, "All things come alike to all: One event happens to the righteous and the wicked;" Ecc.9:2

Then we need to dig into this verse and pull out the hidden gems. Because we know that the Bible does not contradict itself. It's infallible.

First, let's look at our…

Key Words: Life, Abide, Satisfied, Visited With Evil

"Life" in Hebrew is "chay" and it means, "living, alive, flowing (of water), reviving (springtime). From the root word, "chayah" meaning "to live, have life, remain alive, live forever."

"Abide" is "luwn" meaning, "remain, cause to rest, to lodge."

And "satisfied" is "sabea" meaning "sated, satisified, abounding" from the root word, "saba" meaning "to be fulfilled, sated (with food), be filled, to have in excess."

So we could say, "To have a deep awe and respect for the Lord brings us alive like living or flowing water, like the budding flowers at springtime and we will live forever--eternally and because of this, we can rest in excess and abundance of Jesus Christ…."

But what about the latter half of the verse? "He will not be visited with evil." NKJV

I'm reminded of the story of Joseph. A young teenager who was thrown into a pit by his brothers. Begged to be drawn out, only to be sold--bound and fettered before their calloused hearts and evil eyes--and taken to Egypt. (Genesis 37)

Working as a slave to an Egyptian captain. (Genesis 39:1)

Yet he continued to fear the Lord. And he abided in abundance. Everything he set his hand to, God was with him.

Then Potiphar's wife nagged him everyday, working her best to seduce him until he'd come to a point of weakness and he fled. "How can I do this wickedness against God?" (Genesis 39:10-15)

And instead of a, "Well done, Joseph! You passed another test!" He was falsely accused or rape/attempted rape, and thrown into prison. (Genesis 39:20)

Which tells me that evil--calamity, sickness, disaster happens to anyone. Even those abiding in the Lord. It happened to Joseph. It happens to us.

Jesus says in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Abiding in Christ brings an inner peace when everything on the outside is falling apart.

"Visited with evil" in the Hebrew means, "to pay attention to." So we could say:

"To have a deep awe and respect for the Lord brings us alive like living or flowing water, like the budding flowers at springtime and we will live forever--eternally and because of this, we can rest in excess and abundance of Jesus Christ and when calamity or bad things of this world happen, we don't have to be bothered or fixate on it because we know that all things work together for good for those who love God."

What Joseph's brothers meant for evil, God meant for good. (Genesis 50:20)

All things work together for good. Not all good things happen. We have to trust that the hurt, disappointments, calamities, sickness, deaths, rejection, abuse can be used by God for good in our lives. (Romans 8:28)

That's hard to do sometimes, isn't it?

Joseph said, "You have made me fruitful in the land of my affliction." (Genesis 41:52)

It's in the worst of times, we learn to trust the most.

Would you say that you have learned to depend on God most in the good times or the tough times? Why?

15 comments:

  1. Love this: "Abiding in Christ brings an inner peace when everything on the outside is falling apart."

    Have I learned to to depend on God most in the good times or tough times? Hmm...honestly, I think I'm equally roller-coastery in both. Thankfully, I have very close family members who constantly--and I mean constantly--remind me to trust God, whether things are going well or not. Sometimes I get a little stubborn or moody about it, but my family is so good at pulling me back, helping me remember to trust...I think the key is deciding to trust even when I'm not feeling it.

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    1. I think you're right, Melissa. Trusting even when you don't feel like it, is key.

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  2. Love! I've definitely learned more in the tough times, because I absolutely had no other choice. Sad, isn't it? But when things are good, it's so easy to not think about God and how much we need him, even IF things are going great. I want to build up a reservoir of trust in the good times so when the bad times hit, I'm not so overwhelmed.

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    1. I think we can learn best about love in the tough times. I'd say I've learned a lot about it during rough waves. :)

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  3. Jess, I feel like I've been to the Throne this morning! I loved your devotion!

    I've learned the most during difficult seasons because those are the times I've had to truly grasp hold of the One I could depend on--my Savior.

    I've learned gratitude, as well, and to be extremely thankful and humble as He pours out His blessings!

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    1. Aw! Thanks, Cindy! You're such an encouragement to me! I agree, when we think we don't need Him, we kind of don't cling as tight. Great insight today.

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  4. I depend on Him more in tough times. I am grateful and thankful for the good times, but I do seek Him out more and draw closer to Him when things aren't so good.

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    1. I think that seems to be the way we all do. Looks like we'll all be making progress to seek him out in good times together! :)

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  5. God has brought me through some tough times, and in those times He never left my side. I learned more in those tough times than in any other time in my life - but what I've learned it that there are lessons in all seasons of life. Even when things are going really well, He's teaching me about His character. I find I'm more likely to seek Him when I'm in need, but the older I get, the more I'm learning to seek Him in the good times and the bad.

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  6. Definitely in tough times--that's when my faith has been refined. And then in the good times I've learned to give thanks.

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  7. Tough times, for sure. In the good times, I tend to focus on what's going on, too distracted to really take time to give God praise. Sad, huh? But when those bad times hit, not only do I learn to depend on God in a new, deeper way, but it makes me even more grateful when the good times return.

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  8. Oh, GIRL, I needed this today. Hugs!

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  9. Beautiful post, and I love how you broke down this Scripture. Definately, it's easier for me to depend on Him in the tough times. The tough times drive me to my knees in prayer. Being comfortable is what we all want, but we're so prone to drift. Bless you, Jessica!

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  10. Oh Jessica, this was so beautiful and the way you flesh out scripture is so refreshing. I have to confess that I definitely learn more about God and find His faithfulness more readily in the hard times. Well, maybe it is because I am seeking Him more in those times. When life is good, it is easy to let my focus slip. Sad, but true.

    God is good...all the time. Thanks for the devo! I loved it!

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  11. Wonderful post, Jess.

    I learned the most in the hard times. He gently took me by the hand and led me out...all along learning the lessons that I was meant to learn.

    Hard times still come and go, but I'm not afraid anymore. I know who has my hand...

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