Facing Hard Times? Help is on the way:
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character hope. “ Romans 5:3
But we all would ask how do we glory in our sufferings?
Many of the writings of God’s word pertain to suffering. If we would read those verses while our hearts are hurting would we come away with a renewed perspective. We see this in the Psalms:
Psalm 77:1-2 I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;at night I stretched out untiring hands,and I would not be comforted.
Yet, not many of us look at the problems of life as something to be happy about. As firefighters, we solve problems for others but respond differently when they affect us. We show up at large and terrible problems and function quite well under those conditions.
Why is this?
As a firefighter, we understand this concept better than we would like to admit.
We understand that in order to be a better, stronger, and more disciplined that we have to endure many hardships.
Training, education, and exercise are some of our disciplines. But what about applying those disciplines in our own lives? Are we training for the next hardship of life?
What about when we face opposition? Have we considered those who have gone before us and how much opposition they faced? Such a man was Nehemiah. Nehemiah hurt for his people and went to rebuild the walls of his beloved city but was faced with an even bigger wall: the wall of adversity!
“But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
In our actual service we see tragedy, illness, death, and loss almost on a daily basis. This can carry over into our personal lives and cause us to cope in unhealthy ways that are destructive to those around us.
Let us pause for a moment and ask ourselves:
Do the hard times we face in life make us weaker or stronger? Consider Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah, David, Job, Paul, & our Lord Jesus. Did they all not face tribulations?
Each moment and each experience is an opportunity to produce “perseverance, character, and hope” as James reminds us.
These moments and experiences are not meant for us to internalize and let them destroy us from the inside out.
They are meant for us to share, draw on each other’s comfort, and to use them in the future when we face even more difficult moments.
What we often forget is this:
We are not meant to carry these burdens alone. Remember that!
“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
This is a brotherhood and that means we carry one another’s burdens together! We do everything as a team so why should one of our brothers/sisters have to face a personal crisis alone?
These moments can define us or destroy us. Through Faith and Fellowship they can be a source of strength.
As we face hard times in life we must remember to share our pain with others. It is not a sign of weakness, but a sign that we are human.
Without others calling for help, the fire service would not need to exist. With that in mind, begin by calling out to God and to our brothers/sisters for help.
Consider this tactical benchmark check list for our lives:
Size-Up: Pray! Tell God what your facing and share it with someone you trust.
Transfer Command: On an incident, the higher ranking officer takes command upon arrival. In our lives we don’t have to wait on God’s arrival. He is always there. Let Him take Command.
Follow His IAP: Immediately Apply Principles- God wants us to do our part; which demonstrates our faith (trust) in Him. Start mitigating the problem by following His plan.
Report to Rehab: As we work on the struggles we face we will become weary.
This is where we are to radio Command: “God, I am tired and weary”
And Jesus replies “Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Remember as a firefighter, when we arrive at an emergency what do we do?
We go to work resolving the problem. Why?
Because we have confidence in our training and in knowing that help is on the way.
“Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear” Isaiah 65:24
So Pray and remember that our confidence is directly correlative to our dedication to God’s word. Our ‘training’ is our study and application of God’s word.
Then we are get to work on the problem knowing that help is on the way.
In closing, hard times will come but it is how we choose to respond to these moments that will impact our lives and the lives of those around us.
Let us practice the principles of God’s word as the ultimate training for the problems we will all face.
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries