How do you think about the trials of life? When you are hard pressed on every side do you can know that God is forming you into a precious treasure? That is a far cry from how I responded 20 years ago to things when life is hard. Instead of hope, I saw hardship, instead of joy I felt bitterness. This year as I’ve looked back at a hard year I can see where God is re-framing the way I view trials and suffering.
Hope When Life is Hard & You are Hard pressed on every side
There’s a popular song that God has been using to speak into my life this year, Diamond’s by Hawk Nelson. The chorus says:
Oh the joy of the Lord
It will be my strength
When the pressure is on
He’s making diamonds
The whole premise of the song is that we can have hope in all of life’s trials. and it lines up with 2 Corinthians which speaks to a hope we have when life is hard. There is a certainty that our life as believers will be filled with hard times. Equally certain is that our hope is in the life to come.
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NKVJ)
Take heart when you are hard pressed on every side because God never leaves you nor forsakes you. Not in this life or in the life to come. In fact, these trails could be a picture of His love and care for you as He reshapes you into a Holy Vessel.A perfect diamond - after going through unspeakable trials - will reflect light from every angle. Much the same way we reflect the light of God to the lost world when life is hard and we are hard pressed on every side. Click To Tweet
How Are Diamonds Made?
Diamonds are a precious stone, highly valuable and sought after all over the world by jewelers. The journey to becoming a diamond is not anything we would envy.
- Diamonds are old.
- Many believe diamonds are thousands of years old.
- Diamonds are created in the Earth’s mantle under immense pressure and high temperatures.
- Upwards of 2000 degrees.
- To move from the Earth’s mantle to the Earth’s surface a diamond is caught up in volcanic eruption.
- In the eruption, the diamond is shattered, further undergoing pressure until it comes to rest again in the earth.
When diamond miners search they often find more diamond dust than diamond clusters on the surface of the site.
Upon finding a cluster of diamonds there is much more work to be done. Diamonds are ugly in their raw rough forms. It takes a trained master jeweler to chip and cut diamonds so that they are transformed into the jewelry we love.
A perfect diamond – after going through unspeakable trials – will reflect light from every angle. Much the same way we reflect the light of God to the lost world when life is hard and we are hard pressed on every side.
What does it look like to be hard pressed on every side?
Thinking about the life of a diamond, being transformed through pressure and heat from dust to precious jewels makes me think about the trials of life.
To go deeper we will look at John Gills Commentary of 2 Corinthians 4 8 9 where he teaches the meaning and application of each phrase.
- Hard-pressed – troubled, afflicted, never free from trials by people or situations.
- but not crushed – not without hope, not without a way of escape, not without comfort, love, and grace.
- Perplexed – you don’t know what to do, which way to turn, who will provide for you. You are filled with doubt, fear, and anxiety.
- but not in despair – not worried about eternity
- Persecuted – cursed, threatened, left by friends, tortured, followed by evil men.
- but not forsaken – not left by God.
- Cast down – wrestled to the ground, thrown down like trash.
- but not destroyed – having eternal safety for our soul through the blood of Jesus Christ.
We are hard pressed on every side meaning and application
Can you relate to any of those descriptions?
Have you been hard pressed on every side? There are seasons in my life where it seems to be one trial after another trial. I can’t see anything good, only trouble all around.
But as Children of God, we are never crushed. There is always hope, grace, and new mercy each morning.
Are you perplexed? When life is hard it is easy to feel anxious and wonder what to do or where to turn for help.
But as Christians, we know that no matter how hard life is on Earth, we have an eternal future with a loving Father ahead of us.
Have you been persecuted? Are there people in your life who have left you and curse you?
Know that you have a faithful God who will never leave you or forsake you!
Are you cast down? Does it feel like you have been wrestled to the ground by an unforgiving life? The trials in this world can come crashing over you like the relentless waves of the ocean, never giving you a moment to catch your breath and recover.
But you will not be destroyed if you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ through each trial. He keeps your soul safe even when your body is suffering and you can trust Him.
How to survive with hope and joy when life is hard
I remember with clarity a day 20-years ago when a friend confronted my complaining, bitter attitude about how hard it was when life was hard all the time. He chastised me and told me a Christian must learn to count every trial as joy. We parted ways that day for life and I bitterly regret my words.
How can anyone find hope and joy when life is hard?
- My parents were divorcing.
- I was trying to heal from years of rape, abuse, and neglect.
- My best friend had committed suicide.
I saw no hope and felt no joy. All I could do was ask God, “Why”. Now, 20-years deeper into this relationship with God I know that there are not always answers to those “Why” questions.
Do you see the hope sprinkled throughout 2 Corinthians 4? It begins a verse earlier
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be through God and not us. (2 Corinthians 4:7 NKJV)
You are a treasure – a precious Jewel – to God. He has given you His Holy Spirit with access to His power which enables you to endure every trial. Do you know how much God loves you?
But how can you endure when life is hard and there seems to be no end to the trials?
The passage suggests 3 steps that will help us endure with Hope until the process transforms us into diamonds and we are hard pressed on every side.
Step 1. When Life is Hard – Speak
And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13 NKJV)
When life is hard and trials are pressing in on every said you can not remain silent about it. There is power in the spoken word. The passage here is not talking about speaking your complaints, but speaking about the power of God.
- Remind yourself how God has been faithful in the past.
- Read scripture to yourself for comfort and reassurance of who God is.
- Sing praise to God even in the midst of the trails.
- Ask others to pray for you.
There is power in your words. Power to encourage yourself and others as well as fighting the enemy. Remember that the enemy can not hear your thoughts but he can hear your words and has to flee at the name of Jesus.
Speak Jesus’ name and put your eyes back on him when life is hard and you are hard pressed on every side!
Step 2. Cultivate An Attitude of Gratitude
For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15 NKJV)
Nothing that happens to you in this life catches God by surprise. God has a plan for your life, and yes it involves trials. No, we can’t understand why so many trials come, but we can always trust the heart of God.
This passage tells us that even the trials of life, the times we are hard pressed on every said can cause thanksgiving and glory to God.This passage tells us that even the trials of life, the times we are hard pressed on every said can cause thanksgiving and glory to God. Click To Tweet
How can trials lead to God’s glory?
Well if you are living this passage, you first refuse to keep silent. Through the trial, you praise God, remind yourself God is faithful, tell others how faithful God is.
In the midst of trial, you ask others to join you in prayer.
When God answers your prayers, delivers you from the trial, relieves the pressure in your life, everyone will know God did that.
You will be praising God more and telling others how God showed up and showed off in your situation!
When you chose to praise God and practice gratitude through the trials of life, God is glorified!
What happens when we are not thankful?
“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:21 NASB)
There is the temptation to grumble and complain when life is hard for so long. When one trial leads into the next trial and it seems like nothing can go right. But as God’s children, Christians, we know that gratitude is God’s will for our lives.
If you don’t believe me, Google “Bible Verses about Gratitude” and see how many come up. I shared 45 Bible Verses about Gratitude at Kingdom Bloggers*.
One Bible Verse about Gratitude that motivates me is below.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15 NASB)
When we live in God’s will and cultivate a heart that is thankful He promises the peace of Christ will rule in your heart.
When life is hard and you are hard pressed on every side, wouldn’t the Peace of Christ be a blessing? Gratitude is what brings that peace.When life is hard and you are hard pressed on every side, wouldn't the Peace of Christ be a blessing? Gratitude is what brings that peace. Click To Tweet
Step 3. Renew your mind when you are hard pressed on every side
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16 NKJV)
But what about when it doesn’t seem God is answering your prayers? Sometimes the trials continue, year after year, situation after situation until you want to lose heart. Sometimes God says no.
The Bible tells us to be renewed when we are hard pressed on every side. In other places Scripture says to renew your mind, be transformed. How are we renewed?
- Read the Bible
- Stay faithful in prayer, meditation, and fasting
- Meet with other believers in uniyt
- Serve others
God does not promise to remove all the trials we face in life. Nowhere in scripture are Christian’s promised a happily ever afterlife.
Because we live in a fallen world we are subject to the consequences of sin, disease, disaster and the like. God covers us with His grace, gives us new mercy for each day and strength to resist temptation, but does not exempt us from trials.
In fact, God uses trials to uproot sinful patterns, imbue godly character and make us more holy. Sometimes we were meant to be broken in order to be mended back into God’s image!
An Eternal Perspective
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV)
Throughout the Bible, God reminds us that this world is not our home. This life is but a moment compared to eternity. The trials we face feel insurmountable at times, but we are reminded to keep our eyes on Jesus. When life is hard and you lift your eyes above the trials that have you hard pressed on every side, God fills you with His Peace.
If you look deeper at the meaning of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 we find hope and joy in God’s peace.When life is hard and you lift your eyes above the trials that have you hard pressed on every side, God fills you with His Peace. Click To Tweet
Relate: We are troubled on every side sermon and Bible Verse meaning for the song Diamonds
How to Find Hope when Life is Hard and You are Hard Pressed on Every Side
What trials are you facing in this season of life? In this sin-filled world, we face a variety of pressure, burdens, and hardships.
- Marriage issues
- Parenting challenges
- Strained friendships
- Financial hardships
- Job stress
- Disunity in the Church
- Health concerns
How can you find hope when life is hard in these ways? Can I challenge you today to apply 2 Corinthians 4 to these situations that have you hard pressed on every side?
- Make a list of the trials in your life to pray through.
- Commit to telling one person you know will pray fervently with you.
- When you pray over the issue remind yourself and God how faithful He is and that the answer is on the way.
- Praise God and show gratitude for something about the situation.
- It is also helpful to show gratitude to someone else.
- Write an encouraging card to someone else in a trial.
- Send a Bible Verse by text as you pray for a friend.
- Dm a song to some friends on FB to lift them up.
- Find a Bible verse to meditate on while you wait on God
- A simple Google search can help you find Bible Verses about your situation to use in your War Room Prayer Strategy.
Which of these 3 steps to find hope when life is hard and you are hard pressed on every side can you use today?
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