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How to survive hard times (I)

Isaiah 43:2, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest…

Isaiah 43:2, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” 

Notice it says when you pass through, not if. Storms are part of life whether you like it or not. The reality is, you will pass through the fire, you will go through the wilderness in the journey of life. 

Notice also it says you are passing through. Psalm 23:5 says, “…though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” It is temporary. Every journey terminates somewhere. The question is, do you know where you are going to? What is your dream? What is your vision? What do you want to accomplish in life? 

You are on your way to your promise, to your dream, to your promised land. Do you what it is? However, between where you are and where you are going, there is a process.

Everyone experiences hard times, poor, rich, big or small, we all go through hard time. It’s not only poor people that go through the wilderness, rich, successful and powerful people go through the wilderness too. They can go through the wilderness without others realizing it. Whether it’s business challenge, social or financial challenge, everyone goes through a storm.

Our first reaction is to cry and ask God to get us out of the wilderness. But you have to realize that just like the children of Israel, the wilderness could be scheduled into your life for a purpose. Everyone will pass through hard times. The most important question when you pass through hard times is what lesson does God want me to learn from this?

Like we saw in the case of Israel, it wasn’t everyone that survived the wilderness. Your response determines whether or not you survive. So what do you do to survive hard times? Let me share some keys with you:

1. Promise. Understand your promise. Knowing where you are going to or what you want in life helps you to endure the hardship along the way. Hebrews 12:2 says this concerning Jesus, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The significance of what He was going to achieve made Him to endure the cross. David was anointed to be king thirteen years before he was crowned. He endured the hardship of being a fugitive from his own national leader who wanted him dead. Joseph had a dream of being a great and distinguished leader but he found himself in a slave house and prison. He held on to his dream through hardship for thirteen years until it was fulfilled in a rather miraculous way. 

2. Process. Understand that between promise and possession, there is a process. And that process will often involve pain. Israel spent forty years in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. 

3. Presence. The interesting thing about the wilderness is that in it God is revealed. To survive you have to Develop God-consciousness. You must realize that hard times are the times you experience the presence of God the most. The children of Israel had the pillar of cloud by day, fire by night in the wilderness. So, God was present to guide them and help them. They experienced manna, quails, water from the Rock. The Son of God appeared as the fourth man in the furnace of fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Practice the presence of God. Speak to the Holy Spirit like He is right there with you. Let the praise of God continually be in your mouth. You will experience His presence all the time. When His presence overwhelms you, your heart overflows with His love and you no longer feel threatened by what you cannot handle. Psalm 23:4 say, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Awareness of the presence of God eliminates fear. You have true rest when His presence goes with you, knowing that He will fight your battles and provide for you. Ten spies completely forgot that God was with them against the giants in the land of Canaan. They ignored the presence of God to their own peril, they perished in the wilderness like grasshoppers. No storm can destroy you when Jesus is in your boat. No fire can consume you when the fourth man is in the furnace with you. You cannot perish in the valley of the shadow of death when God is with you. I see you coming out of that troubling situation, in the Name of Jesus!

4. Power. The power to survive comes from depending on the Lord in the wilderness. So, develop God-dependence. In the wilderness, all that Israel was required to do was to depend on God for everything; water, food, shelter, protection and all. One of the greatest lessons you must learn is that without Him, you can do nothing. You don’t need to be in the wilderness to rely on God for everything. Make Him your shepherd and you will not lack anything. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your path into breakthrough after breakthrough. God cannot be explained, God can only be revealed! He revealed Himself to the Egyptians through the plagues. But in the wilderness, He revealed Himself to His children through protection, provisions, guidance! In the wilderness you have no help coming from anywhere else but heaven. Manna had to come from heaven. Water came out of the rock, quails were brought by the wind. You’ve had no job, yet your needs were met, you’ve had shelter, food, clothes without earning any income. God has been revealing Himself as your provider. If you will make Him your provider, soon He will get you to the promised land which He has also graciously given you.

(To be concluded next Sunday)

Bishop Dr Charles Olowojoba is the General Overseer of Dayspring Bible Church Worldwide with HQ in Abuja, Nigeria & President, Dayspring Christian Ministries Int’l.

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