1 Peter 4:12-13 “12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”
James 1:2-8 “2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
First things first. The very first word in Peter’s passage says “Beloved”. That means you are loved, accepted and forgiven right now in the midst of your trial, your difficulty, your sickness, your pain, your loss, and your lack. Nothing could be more rewarding than knowing you’re loved. Peter (who penned this passage) had denied Jesus 3 times. But even denying Jesus didn’t keep God’s love from Peter. Peter became a very influential, powerful, loving and healing man in the name of Jesus. People didn’t wait for Peter to pray over them or anoint them with oil…they only needed to get into Peter’s shadow and they were healed. That’s the power of God’s love. Being His “beloved” is more powerful than you can imagine. Embrace His love!
God doesn’t bring bad things into our lives. No, satan does. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. God doesn’t want anyone going through difficult times or even going to hell. It’s just the opposite. He died for you, he conquered death for you, he conquered the devil for you. He loves you unconditionally. However, He gives you a choice. He made the way, he made the train to heaven but you have to get on board. How would you feel if someone only loved you because you forced it upon them? How would you like it if they only loved you because of manipulation? Wouldn’t you prefer to have them love you because they simply love you? God is like that…he simply loves you no matter if you love him or not. He just loves you and he wants you to make the choice. He doesn’t want to make or force you to love him. He doesn’t want slaves. He wants us to freely love him just as we are freely able to go to heaven. He loves us so much that He gives us a choice. Now that’s genuine love.
When you are going through a difficult time, it’s easy to be confused, have a pity party, be negative, continuously complain or moan about your circumstance. But you’ll quickly realize that the only people who will want to hang out with you are the other complainers. It’s like the blind leading the blind. It’s a no win situation. You remain in a “victim” mentality. When you’re constantly saying how hard life is, you put the focus on your problems. Let’s change the mindset. Think of Jesus’ life. He chose to die for us. His sweat turned to blood because he had a difficult task ahead of Him. However, He loved us so much that He was willing to lay down His life for us. So the best thing we can do is realize that His love is more than enough to see us through.
Think of it this way…when you first fell in love with someone, you were intoxicated by that love. You wanted to be with this person all the time. You wanted to have fun and hang out as much as possible with them. The love made you high and nothing else seemed to matter. You still had bills to pay but they didn’t bother you. You would still want to be with this person every chance you had.
That’s the love God wants you to experience with him while you’re going through the trial. He doesn’t love you any less because of the trial. He didn’t take His blessings away. He didn’t want something bad to happen to you. It’s not a sign that God’s hand has been removed from your life. No…we have to turn it around that God loves us and he is in the middle of the storm with us. He will turn it all around for his purpose and for our good. He brings the turnaround from darkness to light, poverty to abundance, evil to good, sickness to healing ~ God is a God of turnaround. And most importantly…GOD HAS THE FINAL WORD in every situation and He will turn it around because He loves you too much.
Secondly, don’t be surprised when you experience fiery trials. Don’t be surprised when people lie about you, someone lets you down, sickness or addictions hit you, poverty strikes your household, or you find yourself in numerous battles and struggles all at once. Don’t be surprised when the devil tries to hit you or your family from every angle. He comes to steal, kill and destroy. He will do everything in his power to make you give up. The best way to take the devil’s power away from him is by not being surprised. God told us that we would have trials and tribulations in this world but take courage because He already overcame the world. The more you stand in faith, the more satan will attack. Steal the fiery darts sting by not being surprised when bad things happen in your life. Just know that you know somehow, someway God already has the answer.
God loves you too much and promises it will all turnaround for your good. Take away satan’s element of surprise and you will prevail. Don’t worry about where he came into your life because he would attack you no matter what. When something difficult comes upon you turn it around immediately. Say wow it’s about time you came, I’ve been waiting for you. I’m prepared for you. I will remain encouraged and be in good cheer. Tell satan thank you for coming against me because Jesus shows up in a mighty way when you attack me. Come quickly Jesus for I’m being attacked.
Thirdly, count it all joy as soon as you see it coming, when it comes, while you’re going through it, and when you overcome it. Be happy and joyful in the midst of it all. Count it all joy. Worship and praise the Lord before, during and after. Be free in the midst of it.
God won’t be late and even if he is…God created time so he can change that too. You might think he needs to come right now because your bill needs to be paid or you’ll lose your home…but even if God is late in your mind and you lose your home, He can turn it around and give you something more amazing to replace it. He promises that you will not lack anything!
Rejoice when you can’t see a way or when you can’t figure it out. Rejoice in sickness, difficult, trials, hardships because when you remember that you’re not under fire, your faith is and Jesus already won; it shifts your mind to glorifying God and not your problems. When you can stand in the middle of your battle, believing in God and having faith that God will shift things around…satan is going to try to rob it from you because your faith glorifies God. Hold onto your faith. Don’t stop believing. Rejoice that God loves you, the answer is coming, and your faith will win.
Fourthly, James 1:5 mentions that if you lack wisdom, ask of God and he will supply it liberally. However, don’t look for the solutions first. We always look for solutions first, it’s our human nature. However, God’s ways are higher than ours! INSTEAD…we must first know we are loved, then we aren’t to be surprised by the trial, then we are to count it all joy and rejoice, then and only then ask for wisdom. Don’t let the situation move you. Instead move the opposite direction. Give more, praise more, rejoice more, spread the Gospel more, and love more. There is a fighter and champion in every single one of us. Fight the real battle of faith.
Once your heart is celebrating, rejoicing, and counting it all joy…then the answers will come. Joy in the Lord gives you strength. As soon as you are filled with joy, praise and worship; God can then fill your head with the right answers. If He doesn’t wait until you’re filled with joy…He knows that it’s too easy for us to doubt or become double-minded. See, when you make up your mind that no matter what you will stand on His word, you can easily detect incorrect thoughts. You can easily take them captive and reject anything that doesn’t line up with the Word of God. You will know that God will perform His word and promises. With the right mental stability, you will be able to stand on faith without wavering and you will receive it because you will be able to remain focused on how big God is and not how big the problem seems to be.
So as you find yourself facing difficult situations, difficult people or lack in any area of your life…remember God’s 4 Key turnaround formula:
- Know God loves you very much
- Don’t be surprised
- Count it all joy and Rejoice
- Ask for wisdom
I pray that you will embrace His truth and see your breakthrough suddenly! Your best days are just ahead! Don’t give up ~ Praise Up!
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Adapted from “What to Do When You’re Going Through Difficult Trials” by Gregory Dickow