Passages to Carry Me Through the Tough Times
[Originally posted on Associated Content, 15 May 2011]
Everyone hits low points in their lives, and Christians are no exception to this. In spite of the great and many promises that God has given us, we can at times forget those promises to never leave us or forsake us if we are not in His Word every day. That’s why I have selected a few passages from the Bible that have inspired me from time to time, and I hope this list will inspire others just as much.
1. Isaiah 41:11-13 (NIV)
11 All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the LORD your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.’
I used to have the KJV of verse 13 posted on my wall at one place I worked. It seemed that there rarely lacked a day in which I despaired the last couple of years I worked there. It seemed that I was surrounded by enemies, but I had to realize the battle was spiritual and not physical. It was God’s fight and not mine alone.
I finally did find a better job, if only for a short while. It was a much needed reprieve from what I was going through. It was a reminder that God works things through on His time and not when I think things should be done.
2. Psalm 37:3-5 (NLT)
3 Trust in the LORD and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
5 Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Trust him, and he will help you.
This passage has long been a favorite of mine. It tells me that trust, faith and confidence in God’s goodness are all synonyms. Trust in Him, and delight in Him, and He will answer.
When you make your plans, when you map out how you will pursue the desires of your heart, then present them to God for approval. If you are truly following His will, then He will help you meet your goals.
3. 1 Corinthians 5:8 (NIV)
8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Sincerity and truth are important to God. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (S. Lev 23:6-8) is a seven day festival in which God told Moses to put leaven out of their homes. In many places in the Bible, leavening pictures sin. Putting leavening out is symbolic of putting sin and corruption out of our lives. However, the Feast of Unleavened Bread also pictured eating unleavened bread, just as Jesus instructed the disciples to on the night He was betrayed. If leavening is sin, it stands to reason that being unleavened is righteousness. It is the taking in of Christ Himself.
Righteousness must be based upon sincerity (lack of hypocrisy) and truth. God’s Word is truth (Jn 17:17).
Jesus said to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Mt 6:33). That should be our top priority, then. Everything else “shall be added”.
Sometimes, we have to re-evaluate our lives and where we are going. It has helped me from time to time to ask, “Am I pursuing God’s will in this?” When the first two passages above don’t seem to be clicking, it is time to ask if I am doing what is right or if I am outside of where God wants me to be.
4. Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy'”meditate on these things.
There have been times in my life where things just seemed crazy and out of control. Those are the times a Christian needs to stop and think things through. That’s what meditation really is. It is to deeply consider something without distractions.
There are lots of passages in the Bible we can meditate on. There are lots of things we should deeply consider. However, Paul instructs us above to think upon others in a positive light. We are to see the good in people and situations whenever possible.
Jesus said to not worry (Mt 6:25). Just before verse 8 above, Paul says to not be anxious (Php 4:6; NIV).
Sometimes, I have to stop and think about why things are so crazy. Do I have control over the events? If so, what can I do to change them? If not, can I just let them go and give them over to God? In any event, can I see the good that is being accomplished?
5. Romans 5:8 (KJV)
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
In the end, Christ died for me. He died for you as well. He didn’t wait until we got our act cleaned up. He acted first.
When it is still hard to see the good, then I must remember that God took the first step. He cared enough about you and me to send Jesus to die for our sins. Jesus cared enough for you and me to follow through with the plan.
6. Luke 12:32 (KJV)
32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
In spite of the anguish of the cross, for both Father and Son, it is God’s “pleasure” that we stay with Him for an eternity. When you consider it all, this puts all the other puzzle pieces in perspective. It is one thing to say that what is beyond this life is beyond comparison (ala Ro 8:18), but for it to be God’s pleasure to have us with Him for eternity is something to really latch onto!
Without that love, nothing else makes sense.