Summary: Putting your faith and trust in Christ when we are faced with difficulties in life.
Text: 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Objective: To help the listener learn to turn their focus on Christ during difficulties in life.
Last week we talked about overcoming life’s disappointments. We looked at how Webster defines disappoint: failing to meet the expectation of something. It is being frustrated with an event in your life.
Today, we are going to learn how to overcome life’s difficulties. The first step we must take is to define a difficulty. Webster defines difficult as, hard to deal with, manage, or overcome, hard to understand, puzzling. Isn’t this what Paul was saying? “We don’t know what to do, but we do not give up hope.” He was facing some things that were hard to deal with, hard to manage, and hard to understand, but he knew that there was hope in God.
What is the difference between a disappointment and a difficulty?
1. A disappointment is when I don’t get the job.
2. A difficulty is when I lose my job.
Every difficulty we face in life will directly or indirectly affect every area of our life. In the example of losing my job, I would immediately face difficulty in my finances and eventually be faced with difficulty in my relationships, my emotional state of mind, my body, and in my spiritual life.
We must be aware that difficulties are more often the results of life or decisions more than they are the attacks of Satan.
We are not isolated in our difficulties. Everyone faces difficult circumstances. In our text, Paul comments on this fact. “We don’t know what to do, but we do not give up hope.” He was facing some things that were hard to deal with, hard to manage, and hard to understand, but he knew that there was hope in God.
I have faced many difficulties in life, and I have learned that the best way to face my difficult circumstances is to keep my hope alive and my faith in God. When you are faced with a difficult circumstance, don’t react in a negative manner; learn to keep your hope and faith in God.
Here are a few steps you can take to overcome difficulties in life:
I. CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS REGARDING YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.
A. You can not always control the circumstance, but you can control your emotions regarding the circumstance.
B. You can control the way you feel and the way you act. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you.
C. Daniel had some good things going his way. He was favored by the king and he held a prestigious position in the king’s administration. Daniel was a faithful man of God. His faithfulness to God was used against him, and some of his colleagues who were jealous of him conspired to have him punished.
"So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed. Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever!" (Daniel 6:16-21, NKJV)
D. Daniel realized that there was only one favorable response to his difficulty and that was to trust in God. God’s Word is full of instruction concerning controlling our feelings about our difficulties:
1. "Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14, NLT)
2. "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry." (Psalm 40:1, NLT)
3. "He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:29-31, NLT)
E. When you are faced with a difficult situation, learn to control your feelings and trust in God.
II. COMMUNICATE YOUR NEED.