We all face struggles and hardships of one kind or another in life. Some face hardships that take everything from them like Job faced when he lost all he owned and his family (Job 1-2). Others face hardships that take certain things or does certain things to them personally.
These can be the loss of a loved one. The loss of quality of life due to an accident or illness. The loss of a job, marriage, or any other stability they had. Some hardships and struggles are addiction or physical harm placed upon you by another because they could not control themselves and fell into their urges. No hardship or struggle is too small or too big for the Lord.
He is with us in all these things. These hardships and struggles are things brought upon us by the wicked world, they are not from God. God only gives good and perfect gifts He does not tempt anyone nor does He cause someone to commit their sinful act against you (Jas. 1:13-18). The Lord takes what the evil and wicked world has done and makes good from it. He takes the evil and uses it to bring forth something good and great (Rom. 8:28-29).
A couple of examples of this are found with Joseph. Joseph was thrown into a well and then sold into slavery by his own flesh and blood (Gen. 37:1-36; 39:1-6). He was sold into the house of a high ruling official and served well only to have a lie told of him that got him thrown in prison (Gen. 39:6-23). While in prison he was highly favored by and was able to provide dream interpretation to men of Pharaoh’s court who had been cast into prison (Gen. 40:1-23). This led to Joseph getting to interpret a couple of dreams for Pharaoh and getting himself placed as second highest in the kingdom.
Even though this happened for Joseph, it was two years after he had interpreted the dreams for the two men of Pharaoh (Gen. 41:1). Joseph was abused and abused and terribly mistreated but the Lord took the bad that others meant, the evil performed by others, and made great good come from it (Gen. 50:20). Gods did not cause all the evil, but He used the evil that was meant against Joseph for good.
The next example is Paul. Paul was in prison, held on trumped-up charges. He was arrested for proclaiming the word but he did not let this get him down. No, he saw the good in it. We see this in Philippians 1:12–14, when he stated, “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
He saw the fact that he was in jail as good. He did because he proclaimed the gospel to a whole chunk of people that he never would have gotten to without being in jail. He knew that being down and giving up because of the struggle was not an option. He knew he was there for a good reason, and that was to share Christ. He took that opportunity and many were saved because of his not letting the hardship stop him.
After briefly looking at these two examples we see that through hardships good can, and will come. This does not mean that hardships are not still hard and difficult. They are certainly that. Yet, even though they are, we can seek to glorify God through them because we know that even in bad, good can certainly come of it. Joseph saw this. Paul saw this. Their stories are in the Word of God for us to see and pull strength from. They trusted God, they were mature in their faith in God.
When we have matured in the faith and trust God and rest in Him, we can fight through the struggles and hardships. We can because we are relying on Him to fight for us. That and we know that our mission here is not for our own happiness and pleasure but for many others to have the same trust and rest we have in the Lord. But we must grow in our faith and mature to be able to persevere in hardships. To be like Joseph and Paul, we need to know that God is for us. We need to grow. We do this by reading and studying these narratives and letters about men like Joseph and Paul, not to mention other men and women throughout Scripture. They show us how to live and be strong for the Lord. Not only this, but they show us that God does not leave us when we are in desperate situations. It shows the opposite.
God is there in them, it is us who depart Him because we have decided that these difficulties are too much. “If He loved us we would not face them,” we say. That is just wrong. Difficulties happen to all, whether we are a child of God or not. How we handle them is dependant upon how mature we are in the faith. Basically, whether we trust God or not. Bad can be turned to good. Will you today allow the bad that has happened to stop you? Or will you let it mature you and serve God wholeheartedly and see what He does with your hardship? I for one want to be in the latter group, how about you?