In The Midst Of Hard Times - Part 1
Articles - Christian Growth
by Lyn Packer
Are you in the midst of a hard time?
Many of us are; the world is going through hard times that are not improving (and will indeed get worse according to what scripture tells us). People are desperate to know what the future holds and how to prepare for it.
As a Christian do you have confidence in God's ability to see you through the hard times? Do you fear what you perceive to be around the corner or is your heart at rest knowing God's love and care will be with you in any situation?
Many of us think we have no choice – bad circumstances come and we worry; isn't that just natural? Yes, that is natural - if you are an unbeliever. But as Christians we aren't called to live a natural life, we are called to live a supernatural life – a life beyond ordinary, a life filled with the supernatural reality and manifestation of who God is.
Jesus said He came that we might know life in all its fullness, in all it's abundance! It's the thief (Satan) who comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). So if you are experiencing God's blessings being stolen from you, your hope dashed, your faith slowly destroyed, that is not the life that God has for you, that is the enemy's work.
The Holy Spirit is the one who "guides us into all truth" (John 16:13), He is sent as our helper (John 16:7) – what does this mean? It means He will reveal the full picture; He has God's complete understanding of any situation we face. God knows the finer details of our situations, He understands every twist and turn and their implications. He knows the plans that He has to bring good into our life through them. He has a strategy, a way through if we will but depend on him.
Bobby Conner said this about guidance in an article I read "As a follower of Christ, we are not called to wonder about the future or to speculate, guess or even reason about potential events—but rather to see, know and understand the future through divine revelation for the glory of God and for His purposes. This understanding of "things to come" is not reserved for the prophets of the Church alone, but for any Blood-bought Believer who walks closely with the Holy Spirit, in holy reverence of the King: He reveals His secrets to His friends. Knowing "things to come" is the result of intimacy with God and thus having the mind of Christ, which is promised to Believers in 1 Cor 2:16: "For 'who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ."
When we rely on Holy Spirit He can be depended on to show us not only God's glorious plan for our circumstances but the way through them too. He longs to give us strategy, He longs to show us not only the practical outcome God has for our circumstances but also the outcome that God wants in our character, our faith, our growth in maturity in Him.
All too often we look purely at the circumstance and it's needed answer unaware that God has far more that He wants to do in this circumstance than to simply provide for a need. We need to step back and look at the bigger picture for a bit because without that we will simply live from circumstance to circumstance, problem to problem.
God is interested in us as a person and our growth in Him as much as He is interested in our circumstances. Scripture tells us that He is forming Christ in us (Gal 4:19). God's plan is to have million's of little Christ's unleashed in the earth. His plan is that we would do the same and even greater things than Christ did. Imagine that – imagine millions of people with the same heart and power that Christ had, unleashing the reality of God's kingdom into this earth, what would that do in the earth? This is just a part of the big picture. Allow yourself to see you in that picture, allow yourself to see you doing the things Christ did.
For many of us we read verses like that, look at our lives as they currently are and think "yeah, nice concept God." We don't believe God can actually do that in our lives and there is one of the problems – we don't believe! We might say we are believers but our lives show that in reality we are quite possibly Christian unbelievers.
Back to our problems though – we are told that Holy Spirit will show us things to come – that means He wants to show us God's outcome for our current circumstances but not only to give us hope; He wants to reveal to us the way through. He wants to activate the mind of Christ within us so we see and understand correctly.
We must learn to live from that place of Holy Spirit revelation not the place of trusting in our own understanding. Why? He wants to give us revelatory understanding in order that we manifest or release his kingdoms glory in the earth. For years we have prayed it – "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven". This is God's will – on earth as it is in heaven!
When we pray for our circumstances we need to keep in mind that God's plan is not just to release our provision but for the release of heaven into earth. Yes, our provision is part of that answer to our prayer, but God wants to do more than that; He wants us to see what he is doing in the heavenly realms (as Jesus did) and to release that into the earthly by our cooperation with Him. Isaiah tells us "Thus says the LORD: 'In an acceptable time I have heard You… I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages..."- Isa 49:8
God wants to answer our prayers not just for our sake but that we would cause others to step into their inheritance in the kingdom. And yes, He does want to answer our prayers and answer them "Yes, granted!"
"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them."- Mark 11:24
"Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."- 1 John 5:14
So if we are to pray for our provision and release heaven into earth in doing so, how do we pray so that will happen and is there a guarantee our prayers will be answered and our provision received? According to the Word there is a guarantee. As we see in the above verses and many others, God says we will get what we ask for. Either Gods word is true or He is a liar. If He is a liar then nothing He has said can be trusted and even salvation is not yours. But if it is true…then we can believe it, trust and depend on it and know rest in the middle of our circumstances as we wait for the answer to manifest in this realm.