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Hello Hard Times, My Old Friend

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“In all their distress He was distressed, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy, He redeemed them, and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old” (Isaiah 63:9, NASB).

Our problems are big and looming. They never seem to go away. As soon as one issue is resolved, other concerns pop up.

Well, the good news: God is bigger than any problem that we will face, and He will never go away. He doesn’t forsake His own. No matter the difficulty, He is there and ready to carry us through.

I love the Isaiah passage, quoted above. This is the Lord responding to the house of Israel, even though they betrayed Him over and over. God still loved and redeemed His people because of His covenantal love.

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What does this tell us? God will be there for us, whether our problems are the results of our own sinful doing or simply because we live in a broken world.

Yes, we face consequences for sinful actions, but the Lord is ready to embrace us as we repent and turn to Him. This is clearly evidenced in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (NASB).

One of the common misunderstandings is to assume that every hardship or difficulty is punishment for personal sin. Certainly, this can be the case. The Lord disciplines us, if we are His children, because He loves us (Hebrews 12:6). However, every struggle is not experienced because we offended God in some way.

Also, every difficulty is not a result of the devil. We give him entirely too much credit. Yes, he does seek to devour us (1 Peter 5:8), but sometimes we have issues only because we live in a sin-corrupted world (Genesis 3:17-19).

We can rest assured that one day, for those who have placed faith in Christ Jesus, we will no longer experience suffering and pain. However, we will have pain, sorrow, anguish, disappointments, etc. until Jesus either calls us home or returns for us.

Where is the good news?

The good news is that we have abundant life in the here and now (John 10:10). How do we live in abundant life? For one, recognize that nothing can separate God’s children from His love … and I do mean nothing (Romans 8:38-39). No hardship, enemy of God, nor personal sin can remove us from His amazing love.

Next, recognize that this earth is our temporary home. We can long for our eternal home with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). We, who are in Christ Jesus, have the glorious promise of Heaven to anticipate.

Next, trust God to carry us all our days (Isaiah 63:9). When in turmoil and distress, trust God for the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). When weak, trust Christ to be your strength (Exodus 15:2). When afraid, remind yourself that He is with you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

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These are just a few examples of how we can experience abundant life offered only in Christ Jesus.

If you are reading this and you have never experienced this life, turn to the Lord in faith and repentance. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, trust that His death on the cross was sufficient to cover your sins and call upon Him as Lord of your life. He will save you!

For those of us who belong to Christ, remember, no matter how bad situations get, God is sovereign, and He is with you.

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Dr. Randall Downs is from Mobile, AL. He received his Master of Divinity (2011) and his PhD in Church History (2018) from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. Randall is the Director of the Worship Arts program at Grand Canyon University, and he currently serves as Worship Pastor at CrossLife Church in Anthem, AZ. Randall is also the singer, guitarist, and songwriter for the folk/folk-rock band, Loser’s Way Home.
Dr. Randall Downs is from Mobile, AL. He received his Master of Divinity (2011) and his PhD in Church History (2018) from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. Randall is the Director of the Worship Arts program at Grand Canyon University, and he currently serves as Worship Pastor at CrossLife Church in Anthem, AZ. Randall is also the singer, guitarist, and songwriter for the folk/folk-rock band, Loser’s Way Home.




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