What do we do when our lives don’t look the way that we expected? This is a question I've been asking myself for most of 2019, and even moving into this new year. How do we cope when we are forced to walk through tough seasons that we did not see coming? I have three simple truths that God has taught me on my journey, and is still teaching me today.
1. Seek Comfort in the Presence of God
If you’re anything like me, then when hard times come, the last thing you want to do is confront what you’re dealing with. Quite frankly, I would rather curl up with a Hallmark Christmas movie, a big mug of hot chocolate (extra whipped cream), and forget about my problems until the movie credits roll across the screen. If I felt overwhelmed, I had a 100% guarantee that watching a movie would make me forget about what I was going through, even if it was only for two hours. The problem with that is when the movie is over, the problem is still there waiting on you to deal with it. In my hardest moments, I’ve had to learn to fight the urge to turn on a movie to escape my problems and instead, seek comfort in the presence of God. Psalm 91:1 (ERV) quieted my soul one day when I was desperate for some relief and peace of mind. It says, “You can go to God Most High to hide. You can go to God All-Powerful for protection.” How beautiful is that? When I read it, I broke down in tears, because it was as if the Holy Spirit was inviting me to come to Him and bring all my fears and burdens to Him. He was calling me to seek refuge and find comfort in His presence, and not through a movie. I realized that when I sought comfort in His presence, not only did I feel lighter, I felt assured and at peace that despite what I was facing, all would be well because God has me in the palm of His hand.
2. Cherish the Word of God
If you find yourself walking through a tough season, learn to cherish the word of God. There were many days when I woke up and felt incredibly weighed down by everything in my life. Each time however, I was led to the word. I would open my Bible even when I didn’t want to read it because I knew that it was the only thing that would bring me the peace that I needed. Without the word of God, I don’t think I would have made it through each day, especially those days that were tougher than others. Whenever I woke up feeling downcast, I would turn to the Psalms and be reminded by David in Psalm 42 to put my hope in God. I think the most beautiful thing about God’s word is that you can always find a verse or a passage of scripture to help you through whatever it is that you are facing. When I felt discouraged, I found myself reading the Psalms and actually mourning along with David. I connected with his laments, but I also connected with his declarations of God’s goodness despite his hardships. Reading about Joseph’s journey to the palace and Sarah’s journey to birth Isaac also encouraged me to hold on to the promises that God had given me. I encourage you to cherish God’s word and allow it to bring you the encouragement and assurance that you need to persevere.
3. Remember this one truth: YOU WIN.
I know that I’m not the only one who has walked through a tough season. Just like me, there are people who have had to walk through disappointment, failures, and so much more, and because of that, they are on the brink of giving up. If that person is you, then trust me, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to become weary in well-doing; but, I’ve come to encourage you and remind you that because you are in Christ, YOU WIN. Victory is yours. Victory is ours! During my journey, the Holy Spirit always reminded me that I am victorious. Romans 8:37 (NLT) tells us that overwhelming victory is ours through Christ Jesus who loves us! Not just any regular ol’ victory, but overwhelming victory! That alone should get you celebrating, or at least more confident that where you are now is not your final place. It doesn’t matter what your situation looks like. It doesn’t matter how you feel. Hold on to the truth that victory is yours and you win! God works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). If you love Him, YOU WIN!
Life isn’t always easy. I’ve come to understand this truth in my own life. However, God has provided for us ways to not only cope during the tough times in life, but to thrive and find joy and peace in the midst of them. So, get up and fight back. Use the weapons, and WIN. You will make it! You will achieve your goals! You will walk in healing and freedom! You have the victory!