I am so excited for this Summers Tune In Thursday Guest Blogs! Y’all, are in for a special treat, as we have some very special guests joining us over the summer each week.
Julie is our first guest and love her heart to be real about life’s messes and challenges. On her about page, Julie writes, “As I’ve trusted in the hard over and over again, God is slowly replacing my defaults and deficiencies into strengths and wisdom.” I like that about her. She doesn’t try to hide the messes, she faces them straight on, and even shares with us, in hopes we too can move forward.
I don’t know about you, but I can relate to her opening statement below.. “The last few years have been the hardest of my life …”
Can you relate?
Maybe you are in that season right now. Or maybe it’s been years, but you know what she’s talking about. Either way, Julie shares some very powerful tools to help us have faith in the hard difficult seasons of life.
Thank you Julie, for sharing your heart with us today at Tune In Thursday. I encourage you to leave a comment for Julie, and don’t forget to link up your posts below.
Enjoy and Blessings,
God Never Promised Easy, Where’s your Faith
in the Hard?
Guest Post By: Julie Loos
Julie Loos is the mom of 5 kids and has been happily married to Greg for 17 years.
She loves to read, eat chocolate, drink iced tea and spend time writing in the midst of messes.
You can find her blog at www.unmaskingthemess.com.
The last few years have been the hardest of my life. Deaths, sickness, addiction, family estrangement, and moving are just a few examples that I can recall quickly. I can look back now and say they have brought me to greater faith. However, during those moments, I questioned what the heck God was doing. I found it takes great faith in hard times.
When a loved one dies unexpectedly, it hurts, and our human minds can’t comprehend the good that can come out of it. We’re told to believe what we can’t see, but all we see and feel is our loss.
Actually, in each of the scenarios I listed above, it’s difficult to understand how God can work it together for us, the ones who love Him.
Have you ever questioned how God could take this extreme pain and turn it into good?
We have answers to some of these issues in the Bible about faith in hard times.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28, NLT).
Debunking the Myth
When I was a child and even young adult, I viewed God as a superhero. Like Spiderman, He would rush in and save the Christian people and banish the evil people. He would maintain order and not let bad things befall His followers. God would be ever vigilant to keep peace at bay, and we wouldn’t have to worry about danger affecting our lives.
To put it another way, I decided that since He loved His sheep, He wouldn’t let anything bad happen to them. He would keep them safe whatever the cost since He’s the Good Shepherd.
Or how about I expected that the Creator of the Universe to keep me from all distress, hurts and other bad things. I mean, He has complete control over everything so shouldn’t He keep me safe since I am following Him?
The cornerstone question is: Shouldn’t His followers be taken care of and let the real evil people suffer instead?
Don’t my expectations sound horrible now that I’ve admitted and written them down? Tell me I’m not the only one who has felt this way?
Faith in Hard Times
The last few years have set my false beliefs on their head. I’ve had to toss them away and look deep into God’s word to replace my expectations with God’s truth. Sometimes it’s painful to debunk what you had thought previously.
I’ve been surprised, frustrated and anxious during these times because it seems like evil keeps descending into my life. Anger at God has been a common reaction in the past.
Don’t we all want a break from the trying times and yet they seem to come in succession one after the other?
Wrong Assumptions and Expectations
Is it just me, or have you been on the presumption that when following Christ life should be easy? I’m wondering where I got this belief because it’s not Biblical according to John 16:33.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (NLT).
God never said life would be easy, in fact, He said the opposite as supported by the passage from John. The problem is we can grasp this fact until hard befalls us and then we question and become frustrated.
God tells us to take heart which means to be confident and courageous during these times of trials and sorrows because God is the victor and we will share in that victory when we reach Heaven.
If you’re like me, you don’t equate love with pain. If God loves me, then why does He allow pain? As a mom, I try to prevent pain from befalling my kids because I love them. However, sometimes for them to learn and grow, I have to allow them some grief.
It’s hard for me to watch and it hurts me too to see my kids suffer, but its part of the growing process. How is our growth any different?
Pain in Growth
I have to anchor my heart to the promise found in Romans 8:28, God is working it all out together, the good, the bad and the painful. He is doing something bigger than I can see with my human eyes. God has the whole picture, and I have just snippets of understanding in my humanness.
He is using the difficult seasons to grow, change and refine us. God doesn’t want us to think we’re changing by ourselves, in our own accord, so He makes us search Him out during these times.
We long for what we had before sin entered into the picture.
Maybe it’s tough for us to accept the trying times because our heart desires and longs for goodness. God made us in His image, and He is without evil, pain or suffering, therefore, we expect these things to stay away. Before the Fall into sin, there was the absence of:
• Broken hearts
• Hurt feeling
• Family instability
• Broken marriages
Could it be that in our hearts we know life should be different? There should be an absence of all the things that cause us such turmoil? Do we long for how it used to be?
Here’s the thing, if the Fall hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t need a Savior to save us from evil.
7 Ways to have Faith in Hard Times
• Remember God is in control and He hand filters what we go through.
• God is working it out for our good; we need to hold tightly to this promise.
• Pray for perseverance, endurance, and acceptance of what happens.
• Seek out God’s wisdom via prayer and His word.
• Trust God; He is stable and unchanging.
• Spend time in His word and His presence.
• Walk in faith and surrender to what He plans for your life.
Cling to Faith in Hard Times
When we begin to become frustrated at God for the tough times, let us remember what He has done in the past. Throughout the pages of the Bible, we see Him helping, guiding and leading His people. God has never broken and promise and He never will.
What hard things has He kept from reaching us? When we look back over our life from Heaven, from what did God protect us? We get mad at what happens, but do we thank Him for what He prevents?
We will see the changes and growth through some of the situations that have affected us in life and others we will see what effects they produce from Heaven. We can be assured by reading Hebrews 11 that God stands behind each one of His promises. Everyone who has ever believed in Him will get a reward for the struggles and pain in this earthly life.
All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us (Hebrews 11:39-40, NLT).
God never promised easy, but He promised to walk with us, never leave us or forget about us. We can anchor to this truth in faith in the midst of our hard season.
To trust God in the light is nothing, but trust him in the dark-that is faith. ~Charles Spurgeon
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Thanks for the party Deb and thank you Julie for the encouragement. Why is it that SO many I know have been in a difficult season for so long? God must have something really special in store for us.
Patricia- I have a lot of friends going through hard times too. We have to keep encouraging everyone:)
You are most welcome Patti – thanks for always stopping in. And yes, wasn’t Julie’s post encouraging for those difficult seasons we will go through? I sure thought it was timely for me to read. Blessings to you as well.
Such a treat, Julie, to find your voice here, and you’ve hit on one of the watershed points of theology for me. I, too, had to learn the hard way that the Lord has transformed me, but has not turned me into Teflon — the Christian life is lived amidst heartache and grief and disappointment as well as fulfillment and joy. I love it when we get our theology straight from the Bible!
Michele- thank you! Sharing in His sufferings and Heaven will be that much sweeter when all things hard will be over!
Oh Michele – I like that phrase – “He has transformed me, but not turned me into Teflon.” That is the way we want the Christian life to be sometimes isn’t, not having anything stick to us, or get to us, or to have to go through heartaches, and disappointments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts today too – 🙂
Nice thoughts. We must keep faith on God all the time. It helps us during the hard times.
Stephanie- yes, faith is needed every minute:)
Stephanie – faith is sometimes all we have to hold onto in the difficult times isn’t it. Eyes upward on Him, helps us ot get tripped up by our circumstances – great reminder for us, thanks for sharing
Hi Julie, I enjoyed your guest post. I also take comfort in knowing that everything is filtered through God’s hands before it reaches me.
Sarah- It is comforting and He will provide the help and strength to weather it also:)
Sarah – I though that was a good point too- God is always filtering, and we often forget that is the case. 🙂
Julie, I am always grateful for that God filter!
Susan- I am too:)
Susan, I am too! so very grateful
A wonderful post, Julie. It is so true that these hard seasons of life cause us to remember our tremendous need for Jesus each and every day. The growth that comes, while not easy, is precious. May God bless you and your family!
Joanne- thank you! God’s blessings to you also!
Joanne – so well put – the growth that comes isn’t always easy, but is oh so precious. Thank you for sharing that. 🙂
As much as I hate pain –esp my kids’ pain — I know I get to know God better/deeper through the process. We can get better or bitter and only by His love/grace do we choose the better.
Sue- exactly:) When we grasp that hard seasons are for growth, we can trust His ways.
Oh Sue, I had to learn that lesson the hard way, I always tried to rescue my kids from the pain, and then I realized it actually helps them grow deeper and closer to God. Now, I pray as they and others I love go through the process and become stronger and more dependent on God. Blessings
What a great post, Julie. You are right that these times are not in vain and are like a soil we are buried in which cause a new growth that couldn’t have come otherwise. We can’t see in the dark but we can believe He is there in it with us!
Meghan- yes, I love that analogy! Like a plant in the dirt 🙂
Meghan – I just love how God speaks to you in pictures and the imagery of being buried in the soil during these times causing new growth – that is so true!
Debbie- thank you for the opportunity to guest post here. I really enjoy linking up here every week!
God’s blessings on your ministry!
Julie – you are so very welcome – I enjoyed having you share today! Thanks for giving us practical tools to help us get through those tough time. Blessings upon you!
Julie, I am so sorry for your painful circumstances and at the same time appereciative for you willingness to embrace it and learn from it. Thank you for sharing with us. One additional thing I pray for in the midst of painful circumstances is laughter. It helps! I find God has a good sense of humor.
Maree – I just loved that about Julie too – she isn’t/wasn’t afraid to be authentic and transparent with what she was going through, and at the same time shared things that could help us learn to handle these times in our lives as well.
Thank you Debbie:)
Maree- you’re right, laughter is important! My husband makes me laugh the most;) He helps break the seriousness of life.
Great post! I know I have definitely strengthened my faith during those difficult seasons! May you continue to be blessed!
Roseann – strengthening of our faith seems to be an ongoing process, doesn’t it? Blessings to you
Roseann- I’m glad your hard times have strengthened your faith! Keeping that perspective will be so helpful as your life journeys on.
These are hard but important truths for each of us. If we believe God won’t allow bad things to happen to us, we will lose our faith when those things do happen. And we all know those things will happen. I’ve had similar wake-up calls in my life. And I am grateful that God sent grace along with them so that I didn’t lose my faith. Thanks for sharing this, Julie!
Yes Lisa, you are right – hard but true. I too am grateful for God’s grace sent to me in similar situations. I have been blessed by Julie’s post as well. Thanks for linking up and commenting as well.
Lisa- I think understanding this is key to accepting all of life. Grace is sent along with the hard. Blessings to you!
Thank you for the wonderful party! I appreciate you working so hard to share other bloggers content. I would love you to visit #OverTheMoon on Sunday, #WonderfulWednesday or #ThursdayFavoriteThings so I can return the favor! Have a great week.
Ahh Marilyn – I keep forgetting about your parties. I am going to go add them to my linkup list right now. Thank you again for the reminder and for joining us here. I love your recipes. 🙂 You have a great week/weekend too!
Marilyn- I’ve written your parties down also:) Thank you for sharing them!
Julie – So blessed by your beautiful post and truth-filled words. Thanks! I’m your neighbor at #faithonfire.
Sandra – so glad you could pop over and read Julie’s guest post on my site – her words are indeed beautiful and truth filled! Thank you for saying so
Sandra- thank you! Blessings to you!
Thanks for hosting and very nice words. I need to remember them during my day. Thanks for inspiration.
You are welcome Patrick 🙂
Patrick- I need to remember them also. I tend to focus on what’s hard and not what God is doing in me.
Thank you so much for sharing this amazing post! This is my first time linking up to “Tune In Thursday”
PS – I also wanted to invite you to link up to my blog hop called: “You’re the STAR” http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/2017/07/youre-star-week2-creative-july-2017.html
Angie- so glad you could stop here! I think you’ll love Debbie’s site:)
Angie – you are most welcome- Julie’s post truly was amazing! I am so glad you could join us here at #TuneInThursday I sure hope you will join us again next week and Iwill hop on over to your link up as well. thanks for the invitation.
Julie, I enjoyed reading your post. You’re right, we need to check out our ideas with what God says in His word. Part of what you were saying reminds me of Ecclesiastes 3:11 – God put eternity in the heart of mankind. I believe that’s how we recognize how things should be, and the longing for it drives us to seek God.
Ruth, yes, Julie’s post does remind me of Ecclesiastes too – there is definitely a time and season for everything … and It also helps me to remember that God takes all things and makes them work together for His Glory in His time. So glad you shared your thoughts with us. Blessings
Ruth-Love your wisdom and for sharing Ecclesiastes! Longing for the Father, aren’t we?
Blessings to you!
God is still good and still God even in hard times! Thanks for the reminder. I’m glad I found you on LMMLinkup!
Beckie – I am so glad you found me too and thanks for stopping by from #LMM – hope to see you again soon 🙂
I loved the phrase that God will work it out – the good, the bad and the painful. It reminded me that it is not my role to try to figure things out let alone to try to work them out especially when I am hurting.
Miriam, that phrase is such a good reminder isn’t it. It definitely isn’t our role, even though at times we try to make it be. I am so glad you stopped in to read Julie’s words. and thanks for leaving a comment as well.