Money issues are a common component of ‘tough times.’ At the very least, the lack of money, or even of money and possessions themselves, often feature in these situations. Having too much can give rise to sleepless nights trying to protect, manage or grow what you have, whereas having too little can result in sleepless nights trying to balance the budget and respond to the red demand letters. Having ‘nothing’ or being in debt makes people feel destitute and often a burden on family or the Government.
Proverbs puts it like this:
“…give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God” (Proverbs 30:8-9).
Whatever the cause, if you cannot do what you want, when you want and where you want, frustration or anxiety arises, and this is often a precursor to stress which can be debilitating and develop into illness, either physical or mental or both. Thus, those journeying through ‘tough times’ can experience seemingly insurmountable pain and this is a major factor in the distress and helplessness experienced. People respond in different ways – some seek a quick fix while others might be in denial, burying their heads in the sand unable to address the situation.
Seeking God’s solution
The commonest response is a quick fix or an early exit from the problem. This leaves open the possibility that the root issue is not fully addressed or that not all the lessons are learned. Then there is a danger that the problem will repeat itself as the abyss of the ‘tough times’ once again opens up ahead of the reappearing or recurring weakness.
The Bible teaches us to stand with our focus on God.
Paul tells us to, ‘put on the whole armour of God,’ (Ephesians 6:11, 13, NKJV). We are reminded twice to put on the whole armour because we are not prone to using it all because the whole armour may restrict our movement more than we desire.
Matthew 6:33 instructs us to, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.” Do not succumb, but allow his Word to help you overcome the enemy of debt or the giant of overwhelming debt. Prayerfully seek God’s counsel. However long it takes, keep praying ceaselessly until the Lord God answers.
It could be that the ‘tough times’ are a result of an unexpected event such as an unexpected car or household cost, the death of a loved one, or they might be the culmination of years of wrong living or neglect. These are faith-testing times and opportunities to reach out and find God in your situation – and be assured He is there even before you.
The times are passing
- Declare in both your head and your heart that the situation is not permanent. It will surely pass, so what you do and how you respond is important. Patience is a shock absorber at such times.
- Do not be quick to make a decision. It is always best to avoid making decisions in the eye of a storm if you can. Hindsight often clarifies that a hasty action or decision was not the right course of action. The disciples were in fear when in the dark of the night they thought the storm held danger. Jesus reassured them and spoke calm into their minds.
As surely as spring follows winter, it is a season and it too will pass. Learn the lessons of the seasons so that you can help others when they face similar circumstances and determine, so far as you are able to, not to walk through a time such as this again – or if you do, to know with Godly assurance how to overcome what crosses your life’s flight path.
Lessons to be learned
Tough times have many lessons to teach, and in most cases we desperately need those lessons. The author, broadcaster and missionary Elisabeth Elliot alludes to this in her statement, “I am not a theologian or a scholar but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us, and tough times carry with them a great degree of pain. Out of the deepest pain comes the strongest conviction of the presence and the love of God.”
Allow God to speak to you clearly and know that still small voice of calm that reassures you of His love. He speaks through His Word, the Bible so look there first for answers. He once stood knocking at the door of your life waiting to be asked in. He is still with you and has given you the indwelling power and presence of his Holy Spirit and He is still waiting for you to invite Him into the situation you are in.
The Psalmist says, “For You, O God, have tested us…you laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfilment” (66:10,12, NKJV).
There is a way out of every tough situation.
It is easier when we focus on God – He is our loving heavenly Father who seeks to bless us and teach us. Job learned of God’s love in the adversities he faced. Learn what God has to teach you and ensure you do not blame God for those ‘tough time’ situations.
If we are quick to run to the bank manager, the credit card, our parents or aid agencies, we only lengthen our training period. For the children of Israel that meant forty years, but they came through in the end! Tough times are not a permanent phenomenon; they are temporary, so learn to see them as such.
How would you measure the amount of trust you have in God during tough times? Is it total, complete, unconditional, or is it limited by your view of your circumstances?
God’s Word says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV).
A prayer for today:
Thank you Father, for your encouragement today – thank you for the insights in your word that tell me I am an overcomer and that you are with me through the tough times and that you bring me through with ‘songs of deliverance’ as I keep you as my ‘hiding place’. Thank you for every time your have answered prayer, encouraged me, gone before me, brought me through, rescued me, blessed me – I love you with all my heart and soul, my saviour, friend, Lord and tester of my faith – refine me in this season. Amen.