September 11: “Is Life Tough? It Might Be a Good Thing.”

7 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Isaiah 8:1–9:21
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Psalm 55:1-23
Proverbs 23:4-5

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT): “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Reflections from Scripture:

Over and over, the reflective reader of Scripture will be reminded that Christianity is often counter-intuitive. It goes against what we think is normal and natural.

Second Corinthians 12:10 is a case in point. Ordinarily, we don’t like it when times get tough, and we feel helpless … and maybe, hopeless. No one likes those kinds of situations and feelings.

Yet, the Apostle Paul told the Christians in Corinth that he was content to be put in situations where he felt like there was nothing he could do. Why? Because he discovered in those times that the only thing he had (Jesus) was the only thing he really needed.

When life is going well, we tend to depend upon ourselves. As a result, we tend to pray less and not as passionately because we aren’t depending upon the Lord as we should.

Yet, when life gets tough and we have nowhere to look but up, we are positioned well to experience God’s power in us. Whether He gives us wisdom, or courage, or peace, or whatever it is that we need in those moments, it often takes times of intense trial to drop us to our knees in dependence upon the Lord.

If you ask a Christian who seems to have a serious, deep walk with the Lord how they got to their high level of spiritual maturity, they will often point you back to a very dark time in their life when they had nothing but Jesus. It was that time that God used to set them on a journey of spiritual growth and vitality.

Do you want to grow in your walk with the Lord? Then look for God to bring trials into your life. Don’t get upset at Him. Don’t question Him. Accept the trials as a gift from Him to develop spiritual growth in your heart. One day, you will look back in deep gratitude for what God did in your life.

James 1:2-4 (NLT): “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, life is tough. But you already knew that. You were there in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve blew it and caused a curse to fall upon all of your creation. So, Lord, help me acknowledge that difficulties will come and not be surprised by them. Help me also to embrace them, realizing that they are a gift from You to help me grow in faith and character. Then, when I have experienced Your comfort in my trials, enable me to reach out to comfort others who are also going through difficulties. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Alessio Soggetti on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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