- Pastor Luis Cruz
Things to Remember When Going through Hard Times
Everyone has been going through a hard time as this pandemic drags on. CBC News reported, “Canada’s inflation rate rises to 30-year high of 4.8%.” This means that grocery prices are increasing at speed greater than the rate of increase of our salary (if ever salary does increase). Gas prices are way up. Cost of living is at its fastest rate in 3 decades. All of us are affected. So today, I want to share with you some things to remember when we are going through hard times.
1. Remember to immediately seek God’s word for instruction.
1 Peter 3:13, “13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?”
· There are avoidable and unavoidable troubles we encounter daily.
· Example of unavoidable hardships: persecutions, death, breakups, losing a job, not meeting goals, losing someone you love.
· There are times when we can stay out of troubles just by following God’s instructions for living.
· King Saul attempted to kill David several times because of jealousy causing hardship on him. See 1 Samuel 18:17-29.
· When David obeyed God’s instructions, the Lord gave him success. See 2 Samuel 6:14.
· But when David disobeyed, he landed in some serious problems. He committed adultery with Bathsheba and had Uriah, her husband killed in battle. See 2 Samuel 11.
· David’s sins brought troubles to him, his household, and his kingdom. See 2 Samuel 12:9-10.
What lesson can we learn from David’s life? Never take the Word of God for granted. “5 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” Proverbs 30:5.
2. Remember to take refuge in the Lord.
“In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me.Psalm 71:1-2. (Please read verses 1 to 8).
· In times of troubles, God is our safe refuge, our deliverer.
How do you take refuge in God?
· Acknowledged before God the weight of human pain and suffering.
· Realize that God would never walk away from us.
· Continue believing in the Lord’s specific promises.
3. Remember that depression can be biblically addressed.
“1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. 3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. 5 They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills… “21When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, 22 I was senseless and ignorant I was a brute beast before you.” Psalm 73:1-5; 21-22.
· Experiencing prolonged hard times can lead us to depression.
“Depression can be triggered by a life event such as the loss of a job, the end of a relationship or the loss of a loved one, or other life stresses like a major deadline, moving to a new city or having a baby. Sometimes it seems not to be triggered by anything at all.”
· Asaph evidence of depression is in vv.21-22.
How did he address his depression?
· He faced his negative spiral feelings squarely. vv. 3-5.
· He determined the source of this feeling, which is envy, vv.- 3-5.
· He confessed to God and took responsibility for his misbehavior.
· He changed his heart by embracing God’s truth.
“23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.24 You guide me with your counsel,and afterward you will take me into glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:23-26.
Questions for discussion:
1. In a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest, how would you rate God’s Word in terms of its importance to your daily life?
2. If you’re struggling in life or having some troubles, where do you usually go immediately? Do you go to social mediafirst, like Facebook, Instagram, Tweeter and blogs for information and instruction/help? Why?
3. We know there are tons of information online, but how do you filter them? How do you know which one is correct or not?
4. The Bible is not written in a way that it doesn’t tell you right away where to find answers for your problems. It takes a lot of time to discover answers. How often do you read the Bible? Do you read to understand or just for the sake of accomplishing your reading plan?
5. When do you come to God for refuge? At the beginning of the problem or when you’re already done trying to fix it but still unsuccessful?
6. Do you usually do a memorized prayer, or you intimately talk with God? How do you talk to Him and how does He talk to you?
7. Are you able to share with God your feelings?
8. Have you felt depressed before? How was it? And what did you do to address it?
9. What can you learn from Psalm 73 regarding depression? Do you think this is helpful? Why or why not?
 Pete Evans, CBC News, Posted Jan. 19th, 2022, https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/inflation-canada-1.6320085  Depression, Canadian Mental Health Association, British Columbia Division https://cmha.bc.ca/documents/depression-2/