Dexter is a pastor who enjoys reading and studying the Bible to inspire and empower others
Lately, I have been experiencing some very hard times in my life. It’s as though God has either forgotten about me, or He doesn't care anymore. It’s difficult being a young pastor with a young family. Bills usually come thick and fast, dealing with church matters is both demanding and time-consuming. Not forgetting a family that expects my fullest attention, to be honest, it feels overwhelming at times.
I have been trying my best to stay focus and keep my eyes on God, but even that is proving to be quite a challenge. It seems with every passing day I am getting weaker and weaker—nothing I do seems to work.
Being a pastor and believer, I have found myself in a dilemma. Should I give up and accept everything that comes my way, or should I look to God for His deliverance?
It might surprise you, but it took a lot of encouragement from others, prayers, and a touch from God to choose the latter. You may think it strange of me, being a pastor needed that much help to decide on the obvious, but it’s not until you are in such situations that you see how weak and helpless you can become.
As I do my best to encourage, everything hasn’t quite worked out yet, but two days ago God favored me with a financial need I was so worried about. Yesterday, the Lord intervened in two stressful situations that were causing me great pain. Though I wouldn't say that everything is sorted out, I will confess that I am seeing some encouraging signs.
In hard times, the devil has a way of drawing our focus on things that are going wrong in our lives. The devil is a master at work in the flesh realm; he relentlessly attacks our vulnerable areas with the intent to frustrate so that in the end we abandon our dreams, aspirations and even give up on God.
But I thank God that the devil failed in his plans to rob me of my hope and confidence in God, with the help of God, the scriptures, my family, and friends, I was able to renew my mind and strength in God.
Hard times are innivitable. In some way, fashion or shape, they will come. But I did not allow them get the better of me, the scriptures helped me. And the good news is—the scriptures can help you too, it does not matter how bleak your circumstances may look right now—God has not forgotten you, and He surely cares about you. You might be struggling to catch a break now, but God has something awesome in store for you.
Bible Verses About Strength in Hard Times
1. Psalm 46:1
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Riding out our storms while waiting on God will not be an easy task, but that’s where this verse comes in. While waiting on God, we are like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—three Hebrew boys who refused the king’s decree to bow to his idol. They knew that refusing to bow to the king’s idol had deadly consequences, but they nevertheless refused. They confessed faith in God and acknowledged that God will deliver them, but if not, so be it, they were ready to die.
But thanks be to God who did not allow them to die. They were thrown bound into the fiery furnace. The furnace was then turned up ten times more than normal. Without God, these three young men didn't stand a chance of surviving the furnace's heat. But God did not abandon them, He sheltered them amid the fiery furnace.
The reality of this story is that our decision to wait on God will attract severe trials and hardships.
But interpreting this verse helps us to understand that God is our refuge. And refuge is a place that provides protection from danger or distress.
God is our hiding place in difficult times. And just as He protected those three Hebrews boys who waited on Him—so likewise he will do for us.
When life throws its best punch to knock us out—God is our refuge.
2. Psalm 9:9
"The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble (hard times)."
3. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Exposure to weaknesses and hardships doesn't mean you're a failure. But rather, your weaknesses and hardships are mere stepping stones pushing you into greatness.
Before you can scale a mountain—you must first walk the lonely valleys, endure the dry wilderness, and experience the relentless winter snow before you can inhale the warm fresh summer breeze.
Hardships are meant to push us back, but God will use hardships to push us ahead. And in these verses, Paul shares similar views. Instead of being depressed and frustrated by his challenges—he embraces them as an opportunity to see God's power manifest in his life.
You can learn from Paul and apply the same principle to your life, it wouldn’t hurt to try, and remember that your hardships are opportunities to prove God.
4. Isaiah 40:29-31
"He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint."
Where does our strength come from? Our strength comes from the Lord. And the Lord is waiting to give strength to those who need it. But this strength does not come easy, it’s not just waiting on a plater for anyone that passes by. To get God‘s strength requires a total commitment of our will. Are we willing to surrender all of our lives to Him? Are we willing to commit everything that we are and desire to become into His hands? If our answers are yes to these questions, then we are ready to receive God‘s strength.
This passage of scripture starts by saying “God gives strength to the weak.” At some point, we all will experience some kind of weakness, especially when times are hard. But thankfully, God gives strength to the weak. When life pulls us down, God lifts us up. The fittest of the fit without God will fail, and the strongest of the strong without God will faint, but the weakest of the weak with God will overcome any difficulty and succeed in anything, but the key to this success is patience.
5. Isaiah 40:31
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
Patience is a grace we should all possess, without it, we are fighting a losing battle with hardships. According to this verse, God gives strength to those who wait on Him. Those who wait for God’s deliverance will be rewarded with favors of every kind. When we choose to wait on God, we will fly as high as we desire to, we will run as fast as we want to, and we can dream as much as we are able to—God will give us the strength and grace to achieve it all.
6. Proverbs 18:10
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe."
Similar to a refuge, a tower speaks of protection from danger. But it does not stop at protection only, it also speaks of elevation and strength. Unlike psalm 46:1, in this verse, we aren’t on the defense running for shelter from the devil’s attack, but rather, we are on the offensive line confronting our fears and troubles.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower, no device of the devil, and man is able to penetrate the tower of God. God stands by His name, and His name is our strong tower.
Don’t give up, don’t be overwhelmed by your difficult circumstances, but rather confess faith in God, and begin to declare the promises of His word over your life and over anything that you desire to see change.
Don’t drawback, it’s your time to shine and push back every negative situation that has been working against you.
7. Habakkuk 3:19
"The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me walk upon mine high places."
Is there anyone or anything greater than our God? No, in this verse the psalmist declares that God is ruler over all—He is seated in the seat of power and control.
When hard times hit, we are always in need of the grace of strength to trust and wait on God. And thankfully, we don‘t have to look far because God is clothed with strength and deck with majesty. So when life “packs a mean punch” to knock you out—God is your strength.
Not only will God strengthen you, but He will also bless you with stability and stamina to do things others are afraid to do, and to conquer mountains others only dear to conquer.
8. Psalm 23:4
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
When our vision of life gets dark and our path in life seems uncertain—even then we can still trust God. Uncertain times in life are one if not, the most frustrating time in our lives. Not knowing what’s around the corner, not knowing what may happen next is sometimes too much to bear. But this verse has been a source of strength and comfort to me, it reveals that even in our most unstable and uncertain moments God is with us. At times we may not feel as though God is with us, but He is there—in our most unbearable moments.
You are not walking this lonely and dark valley alone, God is with you, and every step of the way He will comfort you.
9. Psalm 73:26
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
The key to getting through hard times is not putting our confidence in ourselves. At times we are tempted to believe we have everything under control, but according to this verse—our strength and understanding will fail. As human beings, we are limited in our strength and understanding of life, and there are challenges we may never overcome—even though we give it our best shot.
But with God’s strength and grace, we are more than conquerors, there is no trial too hard to endure, and no mountain too steep to climb.
10. 1 Corinthians 10:13
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."
It’s always good to know that someone else has experienced and overcome the hard times we face. It’s a good practice to talk to and learn from others who have encountered tough times. Learn from them, study their success and when possible apply their principles. Of course, we must be guided by the Holy Spirit, but it’s God's will. By learning from others, we will find that some trials we struggle with are quite easy to overcome if we apply the principles from others’ success. Don’t listen to the devil, he will try his best to get you isolated so that he can fill your mind with lies.
There is always a way out of our testings, but we must know where to look, a clue—just learn from others with the help of the Holy Spirit.
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© 2018 Dexter Whinfield