Five Ways to Make Hard Times Better

When the “winters” of our lives descend, leaving a trail of destruction and hard times to endure, how do we deal with it? No matter who you are: parent, grandparent, single or senior,  writer or teacher, blue collar or white collar, here are five ways to make hard times better:

1. Give thanks for what you still have.

Job knew about hard times. He lost his possessions (7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 599 female donkeys)and all His children (10 of them) in one day. Soon after that, he was struck with incurable boils from head to toe. (Job 1-2). What could he possibly give thanks for?

His wife? Well, that’s debatable, considering how she reacted to all of it: “Curse God and die!” Friends? Um, maybe not. Their advice would not encourage a grateful heart. But Job did have God on his side, the One who considered him as a man of integrity. He refused to blame God for anything.

2. Give thanks for what you can still do.

I’m amazed at Nick Vujicic’s life and story. This man, born without limbs, will more than inspire you and stir up a heart of gratitude for the things you can still do in hard times. Sort of makes our circumstances or complaints fade, huh?

3. Trust God to do what you cannot do.

The secret lies not in our strength, but in God’s. That’s true in Nick’s life, and it will be true for us. Looking to Jesus for our strength takes our eyes off own weaknesses and difficulties. The apostle Paul learned that same truth: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJ).

4. Pray for others you know who are also enduring hard times.

It’s not always easy to think about others when we’re hurting, because we can always find someone in a worse condition than ourselves. And we don’t always want to consider that–right now. But hard times are not occasions for a pity party, but an opportunity for an empathy party. Praying for others focuses our attention upward and outward, rather than inward.

5. Rest in the Lord.

I know, easy for me to say. I haven’t walked in your shoes. But you haven’t walked in mine, either. Pain is pain. And we’ve all been there or will be, someday. It never helps to compare ourselves to others using a “my situation is worse than yours,” kind of mentality. What does help is to celebrate that God’s still in charge; He still loves us; and He wants us to cast all our cares on Him. In other words, to rest in Him and in His Word (Psalm 37:7).

Like He did for Job, God may restore what we lost in this life, or He may wait until eternity to do that. But one day, the temporary will pass away. No more hard times. No more sadness. No more pain. But until then, we can contribute to making the hard times better. Both in this life and the next, Psalm 16:11 says in God’s presence, there is joy, fullness of joy. What a beautiful promise!

I love this translation of a verse I mentioned earlier, Philippians 4:13 (MSG): “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”

Because if we have Jesus, we have everything.

What about You?

What has helped to make hard times better for you? I’d love to hear your comments below.

It’s Your Turn

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6 Responses to “Five Ways to Make Hard Times Better”

  1. Linda on January 20th, 2014 9:13 am

    Thanks so much for this post which is very timely for me as we find ourselves cleaning up after a flood……realizing how temporal our ‘stuff’ is…..can all begone so suddenly…..and in the midst of cleaning up this mess I find myself in I am so thankful for Jesus presence with me …..

  2. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on January 20th, 2014 4:00 pm

    Linda, I’m so sorry about the flood. Thank you for stopping by. I know your words encouraged someone today!

  3. John Easterling on January 22nd, 2014 1:32 pm

    Before I start, let me say I am going through a major finicial storm in my life. Therefore please forgive me if I am not responding as you would expect. I have been unemployed for almost two years now. In the last two years I worked for six months to be honest. The Lord has really been making me see my past life experiences in some positive ways and in some cases negative ways. Last week I was reading the story of The rich man and the poor man. I my life time my wife and I have opened our homes to at least three families that had no place to go, we feed them and gave them our BEST attitude and respect. A couple of time the stay lasted for months. In one case the lady had a baby in our home and we provided support for her and the child. We has never turn anyone away that needed our help. Now, if we planted seeds in fertile soil with God, where is our support when we are faced with problems? How come the same help we gave to strangers are not returned? I am confused?

  4. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on January 24th, 2014 1:27 pm

    John, thanks for your honesty in sharing both your experiences and your question. God welcomes and accepts our questions (Job had his questions). Let me first say, we wake up with heavy hearts hurting with so many who leave comments with a variety of needs and hurts. We pray for wisdom constantly in our responses. From your statement, it sounds like you have learned both positive and negative things from your life experiences. As I’ve told many, I’m a writer, not a counselor, but as a child of God who has walked with the Lord for several decades now, I have seen some things the Lord has shown me too. One is that I’m not Him. I am still learning that there is a healthy balance between God’s love and grace and His sovereignty. In between that dichotomy lies trust in a God who cannot be anything but faithful. How and when He will do that, I cannot say. His timing, His ways, His very character is so otherworldly from mine, that I can’t figure things out on my own. It’s confusing to try, to say the least. In 40 plus years of ministry, we (through the church) have reached out to hundreds of benevolent needs. Like the 10 lepers in the Bible, in all those cases, only one returned to say thank you. In our own or through our extended family members, we have experienced unemployment, unexpected death, financial challenges, chronic illness, and other personal losses and traumas. God didn’t always answer when we wanted or when we expected. But our needs were somehow always met. I am learning I don’t have to speak up for or defend God or His ways. But my challenge is to learn to trust Him. So, like Peter, we don’t have silver or gold to give to anyone. But such as we have, we give–our own personal testimony of God’s faithfulness–and His perfect timing. He never leaves us; He never will. I hope my other blogs will give you additional encouragement, if you choose to read them. You are in our prayers, as are all the ones who leave comments and questions. May the Lord encourage your heart today.

  5. charity mbava on February 17th, 2014 2:21 am

    These are really encouraging ways to deal with our day to day lives. It is very true that we all go through hard times at some stages in our lives so yes we must be encouraged to know that nothing lasts for ever, every situation comes to an end. Thank you so much and may the good Lord continue to bless you, in Jesus name. Amen

  6. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on February 20th, 2014 10:44 pm

    Thanks for your comments, Charity. God’s blessings to you, too!

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