Originally published Monday, 30 October 2017.
What a way to title a post, right? I mean, who wants to prepare to go through hardships in life? Who wants to deal with that? I get it, sis. Nobody does – including me. But the truth is…we will go through trials in this life. We were never promised a flowerbed of ease on this earth. Instead, Jesus prepared us in advance (before He ascended into heaven) in John 16:33 saying, “…Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Through Christ, we are overcomers. But He tells us first, to take heart.
The phrase “take heart” actually means “to be courageous; to regain one’s courage, to be comforted, of good cheer, and to be encouraged.” I don’t know about you, but that’s encouraging! When trials hit, you have to hit another gear – a spiritual one. You have to renew your mind (replace negative, discouraging thoughts) with the Word of God and encouragement. Remember, King David encouraged himself in the Lord. And so Jesus is telling you today to take heart, my sister.
God prepares us in various ways for the approaching storms of life. Think about it. For most natural storms, there’s a warning sound or news alert. With hurricanes, there are city officials who alert the city to evacuate before the storm hits. With tornadoes, the weather man will tell you where it’s about to hit next. Tsunamis usually sound an alarm. But earthquakes sort of happen more unexpectedly, at least to those who are just going about their regular day. Yet, geologists already know that something’s coming.
So here you have two situations happening. You have the awareness that something’s coming and you have the unexpected. That’s also how life’s trials strike. Sometimes we can sense that something’s about to happen by the Holy Spirit or God may send a prophetic word through someone or even prepare us through the Bible itself. But then there are the moments when you get a tragic phone call, devastating news, or something completely unexpected happens to you personally. How do you prepare for any of those times?
Get into the Word of God now.
Have a steady diet of God’s Word now. That way when life’s trials strike, you won’t say, “I can’t handle this!” Instead, no matter how hard the blow, you’ll hit that other gear and you will be able to handle it with God’s Word and with Him holding your hand through it all. Hold onto this powerful verse in Isaiah 41:10 which encourages, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” He’s got you. He will strengthen you.
I know this personally for myself, because God prepared me for one of the hardest seasons of my life. I kind of sensed that something hard was about to happen. I didn’t know what exactly. But I sensed something. And then the Lord told me so clearly one day, “I will strengthen you for what you are about to go through.” I knew it was Him. And sure enough…the trials struck me hard! My dad was diagnosed and unknowingly dying of Stage 4 lung cancer and on top of that, I was struck with one of the hardest trials in my personal life. Yet, God brought me through them both in His own way.
The Bible tells us this in Psalm 34:19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them from them all.” Remember, in this world we will have trouble, but in the end, we are overcomers through Christ. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. So no matter what the afflictions look like in either of our lives, the Word holds true. Our job is to believe it and let God strengthen us. So let Him carry you through, sis. He’s a BIG God.
Here are a few practical, yet biblical nuggets. Gird up. Get into the Word of God. Find some verses that will help you when life gets hard (even before it gets hard). Pray. Talk to God when things are good and when things get tough. Keep in mind. You two have a relationship. So communicate with Him all the time.
Fast if you feel led to do so. Sacrifice a meal. Read up on this life-giving biblical practice. When trials were happening in the Old and New Testament, many called a fast. Remember Queen Esther. When her people were threatened to be annihilated, she called a fast for the Lord to save them. And He delivered them. God’s answers are always right…even when they’re hard answers or even hard to understand. It’s important to know that He’s a Sovereign God. And He loves us. Don’t ever forget these things, sis.
I pray that this post encourages you and helps you to prepare for the trials up ahead and the trial or trials that you may be experiencing right now. Be sensitive to God’s voice, His leading, and know that He is very near. He won’t forsake you. And ultimately, know that He has a plan in store for it all. He’s building your testimony, strengthening you as He strengthens others around you because of your faith, and making you more and more like Christ through the suffering and your response. Remember Jesus said, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.” Nothing happens by chance with God. Absolutely nothing. So be strengthened and encouraged in Him, today.
First Peter 1:6-7 says, “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” Hold on, sis and trust Him every step of the way. #byfaith
Remember, Jesus is coming back soon! And those who endure unto the end shall be saved. So let’s be ready from the Inside Out!
Resources: Here are a couple of resources that I want to recommend to you this week. One is entitled, “Trials” by June Hunt and the other is “Lord, Where Are You When Bad Things Happen?” by Kay Arthur. These are very powerful and life-changing books. They help put things into perspective.
QUESTION: Have you ever sensed that God was preparing you for a trial? If so, what was that like and how did He bring you through? Share your testimony here. Also, are you going through a trial right now? If so, I’d love to join you in prayer. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
ALSO, my NEW 8-Week Study Guide and Video Teaching Series from my book, "IDENTIFIED: Knowing Who You Are in Christ & Moving Forward in Your Purpose” is coming soon!!! Stay Tuned!
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