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Enduring the Hard Times

Greetings! This Bible study is going to be about enduring and enduring the hard times. What I would like to show you is what God says about enduring, how some people from the Bible endured, thereby giving us an example on how to endure, and give some principles on how to endure.

So what does God say about enduring? In James 5:10-11 the Bible says:

As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured*. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.”
*Emphasis added

Now then, James, the writer of this book (Hence the name ‘James’), mentions Job as an example of enduring. Today we’ll not only look at what Job endured, but also what another Old Testament character endured, Joseph. Let’s look at what Job endured:

The whole story of Job is quite an unusually one, to say the lest. You see, in Job 1:6-12 the Bible says:

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” 8. The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” 9. Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10. Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” 12. Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.”

In this passage, the Bible tells us that how Satan came from walking ‘to and fro’ on the earth, no doubt looking for someone to sin against God. God says to Satan ‘Have you considered my servant Job?’ So Satan, seeing an opportunity to hurt someone and get away with it, says ‘ Is this for nothing?’ You see, God had blessed Job immensely for his faithfulness. In fact, Job was a very wealthy man (Job 1:1-3). So the discourse continues between Satan and God, and Satan says that if God were to test Job, like He does us, then Job would curse God and denounce Him. So God said to Satan, ‘Do what you will with Him, but don’t touch Him’. So Satan takes this chance and goes and destroys all that Job had except his health and his wife. This means that Satan killed and destroyed Job’s sons and daughters, his servants, and all of his possessions. But did Job curse and denounce God? Nope! So of course this got Satan mad. Making Job lose all of his possessions and offspring wasn’t enough. No, Satan wanted Job to curse God. So Satan went back to God. The Bible says in Job 2:1-7:

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. 2. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Then Satan answered and LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around it.”3. The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no on like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.” 4. Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5. However, put forth Your hand ,now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face.” 6. So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.” 7. Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.”

Once again, Satan returns to the presence of the Lord, unhappy with the way things have turned out. You see, Job didn’t curse God like Satan had hoped and planed for. So Satan again asks to be able to hurt Job, and God grants him that. So off goes Satan to afflict Job with more pain and suffering. Satan does this with the use of boils. From these passages of the Bible, there can be drawn two conclusions:

1. Satan can do nothing unless God permits him
2. God sometimes will let Satan ‘have his way with us’ to test us
These two conclusions are very evident in these passages. You see, if Satan were as powerful or more powerful then God, then he would be able to do whatever he wants. But this is not so because God said to Satan ‘Don’t touch Job’ and then ‘ Don’t kill Job’ and Satan obeyed. So therefore, Satan is under God’s power. It’s also true that God will sometimes let Satan ‘have his way with us’. So remember these two conclusions.
But back to the subject at hand.
So what did Job have to endure? Job endured:
1. The loss of all of his possessions
2. The loss of all of his sons and daughters
3. The loss of his servants
4. The loss of his health
5. The pain and suffering of going through all of this without knowing why this was happening

And you thought that you had it bad! But you know what? Job never once denounced or cursed God. In fact, Job praised God for what had happened (Job 1:21-22)! Talk about the prime example of enduring. Since Job is a great example of enduring, therefore we should his example of not cursing God. Our next example of enduring is:


In Genesis 37:5-8 the Bible says:

Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6He said to them, “Please listen to this dream which I have had: 7for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 Then his brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” So the hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.”

You see, once again, the whole story of Joseph is quite an interesting one. Joseph was one of the 12 sons of Jacob, the Father of Israel. Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son because he was the first son of Rachel (Gen 35:24). One of the ways Jacob showed Joseph that he loved him so much was by giving Joseph a multi-colored coat (Gen 37:3). Therefore, Joseph’s brothers didn’t like him and were jealous because he was ‘daddy’s favorite’. So, when Joseph came and said what he had seen in a dream, that he would be ruler over his brothers, Joseph’s brothers had the last straw! So they plotted a way to get rid of Joseph.

So what did Joseph have to endure? Joseph endured:
1. Being thrown into a pit
2. Being treated unfairly
3. Being sold into a caravan against his will
4. Being taken to Egypt and away from his home
5. Being accused of rape
6. Being thrown into jail under false charges
7. Not knowing how his family was doing

One word comes to mind when I think of how much Joseph had to endure, “WOW”. Nevertheless, through all of these ‘hard times’ and ‘trails’ Joseph persevered and endured with the Lord.
And these are just two characters from the Bible that persevered and endured with God during the tough times.

So then, how can we apply this and ‘endure’ in our life? Well, if you look at these two characters, we can another draw two conclusions:
1. God brings us to our lowest before He brings us to our highest
2. The reason God lets these things happen in our lives is to help us grow in Him

Right now in your life you might be going through trials and tribulations that are sent from God, just like Job and Joseph. In fact, right now you might have lost your job or something else. I’m bet you’re feeling like God has abandoned and forgotten you. But don’t worry, God was the very One who formed you and made you and He’ll never forget you! But in turn, you might be saying, ‘Well, if God loves me so much, why does He let ‘rough times and trials’ befall me?’ Well, the first reason God let’s us go through trials and tribulations is to bring us closer to Him. Only when we’ve lost what we think is everything, will we fully lean and trust on God.
The second reason God gives us trials is because only when we’ve been brought to our lowest will God bring us to our highest. How do I know this? Well, look at our examples: Once God was through testing Joseph, Joseph became second in command in Egypt (Gen 41:38-42)! And after Job endured God’s trails and testings, God restored all that Job had times two (Job 42:10)!
In fact, you might be at the end of your rope and ready to give up. But look at Job and Joseph. I know that they wanted to just give up. But they didn’t and God rewarded them for enduring and being faithful. But we shouldn’t endure just for the rewards. We should endure in Christ because we love Him. Nevertheless, if we endure and keep Christ and His ways our focus we will be rewarded. But it might not be here on this earth (2 Tim 4:6-8)

Now then, I don’t know what trials or tribulations you might be going through. You might have lost a family member or best friend, you might be going through a time of testing, or you might be waiting for God to show you His will for your life. Nevertheless, there are four principles that can help us as we endure the trails and tribulations of our lives… But before I give these, it’s extremely important to find out if what you’re enduring is something you brought on yourself (Such as sin) or if it’s from God to test you and help you grow in Him. What do I mean? Well, a prime example of enduring something that someone brought upon themselves because of sin can be found in 1 Corinthians 11:27 & 30. The Bible says:

Therefore who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord...”

30.”For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.”

You see, the people at the Corinthian church were observing the Lord’s Supper in a sinful and unworthy manner. By observing the Lord’s Supper in an un-holy way, they were blaspheming the name of God. Therefore, for this very reason, some were sick, weak, and some even died! So we have to make sure that whenever we’re going through a hard time, that we know it’s from God and not because of sin in our lives. And if we do find out that we’re going through a trial because of sin, then we need to pray, ask God for forgiveness, and turn from that sin. So remember, make sure what you’re enduring is from God and not because of sin.

(Editor’s note: it come to mind that some of you might think that whenever something ‘bad happens’, that God is testing us. This is not so. But nevertheless, whenever we are sick or enduing a trial or a rough time, it’s a great idea to pray and ask God to show us what He wants to show us, if He wants to show us anything, by making us sick.)

To the four principles. Whenever we are sick, enduring a hard time or trial, or whatever else it might be, we need to:
1. Pray and ask God for His endurance, patience, and longsuffering so we can preserver whatever God might send us and not forsake Him
2. We need to read our Bibles daily and pray for God to reveal Himself to us and help us grow in Him the way He wants us to in a hard time
3. We need to talk to other Christian friends who have gone through what we are going through for advice and comfort
4. PRAY ALWAYS!!!!!!!

And these are just a few principles. But fore some of you these principles and examples of enduring aren’t enough. Well, all that I can say is look to the One who died for you for the inspiration to keep going.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews12:2

You see, whenever we feel like we can’t go on any more, right then and there we need to look to Jesus for guidance and help. Why? Because Jesus endured not only what you’re going through, but also all the sins of the world and dying for you and I on the cross. Jesus should always be the One to whom we look to for strength and endurance. So remember, no matter what you’re going through, Jesus knows it, sees it, and has been through it. So look to Him always!

In conclusion, I hope that this Bible study has helped renew you and given you a new hope to be able to endure the trails and tribulations that you might be going through or will be in the future. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me. So now, as I finish with this verse of comfort, may you follow God and His ways even during the hard times:

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I (Jesus) have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Yours in Christ,

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