I have a friend with a Jeep and one of the things he likes to do is to take it off road. There are trails around the country that Jeep enthusiasts go to. These trails are rated by the package on your Jeep. To go on certain ones, you have to have a certain package or another with upgrades or you won’t make it. There’s one in the High Sierra’s near Lake Tahoe called the Rubicon Trail. It’s a grueling 22 mile off road trail that challenges even the most seasoned off road drivers. I’ve watched several videos of people doing some amazing driving on this trail. These drivers move forward on this trail confidently and help others along the way. It’s pretty cool to watch them navigate, learn and maneuver some rugged terrain.
When talking about our spiritual walk, we often refer to the good times as “mountaintop experiences” and dark times as “being in the valley”. However, like the Rubicon Trail, sometimes the challenging times of life are high on the mountain or on your way up. You may get some bumps and scratches on the way through the rugged terrain. Some of the toughest times in David’s life were after the high of being anointed king. He had to navigate through some rough terrain, but in the process, God was preparing him for the responsibility of what was coming. There were some emotional set backs on his Rubicon Trail to the throne, but he kept moving forward with the confidence of his calling.
I’m reminded of Habakkuk 3:19. It says, “The Lord GOD is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army]; He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet And makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my high places [of challenge and responsibility]” (AMP). I don’t know what your Rubicon Trail is, but I do know that God is your source of courage and your navigator through rough terrain. He will help you to keep moving forward towards your goal with confidence even when the roadway is seemingly blocked and you can’t see the end. He uses these times as part of His process to prepare you for the promise. Look around you to see who He has placed in your life to help get you through. Don’t travel this terrain alone. Find a strong believer to help guide you and pray you through.
Going through hardships is part of life, but lately it seems a higher percentage of people are going through them. Financial hardship is one so many of us are facing as the world faces record unemployment. I’ve been to visit several people in recent weeks delivering food and money through our church’s benevolence ministry. I’ve seen the financial hardships up close. As financial hardships increase, so do relational hardships. Couples are struggling being cooped up together 24 hours a day with little to no money and stress is high. Single people face relational hardships and are feeling alone now more than ever.
One thing I’ve learned about hardships in my own life is that they give God an opportunity to shine as we become less independent and more dependent on Him. They produce in us faith that can’t be produced in good times. Also, hardships only last a season. After that, God is able to restore us as we have learned to trust Him more. He has not forgotten you or abandoned you in your hardship. He’s giving you a greater opportunity to experience a depth of His grace as of yet unknown to you. Trust in His strength during your time of hardship and in the sufficiency of His grace. He has never failed you, and He’s not going to start now.
Here are some Bible verses on hardship.
1. You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.
Psalms 71:20-21 NLT
2. Many hardships and perplexing circumstances confront the righteous, But the LORD rescues him from them all.
Psalms 34:19 AMP
3. And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5:3-5 AMP
4. You find God’s favor by deciding to please God even when you endure hardships because of unjust suffering.
1 Peter 2:19 TPT
5. Instead, in everything we do we show that we are God’s servants by patiently enduring troubles, hardships, and difficulties.”