How to Face Tough Times
Have you ever heard the song, "Don't Ever Sell Your Saddle" by Randy Travis? There's a line in the song that says, "tough times don't last, tough people do." I instantly thought of Tamar in the Bible because I'm currently reading about her. In fact, we’ve formed a "book club" for women and we are reading “A Lineage of Grace” by Francine Rivers. It’s a compilation of five books in one. We have plans to discuss and study in further depth the first one titled “Unveiled.” I encourage you (male or female) to read about her in Genesis chapter thirty-eight.
Tamar experienced some tough times. Instead of giving up. Instead of giving in to despair, she faced her situation with strength from the Lord. In fact, her name means like a palm tree. Palm trees are the most valuable of Eastern trees. They symbolize holy festivities, good and wisdom and the idea of beauty and wealth.
Did you know that Tamar is the first of only five women listed in the genealogy of Christ? It's interesting, isn't it? That this was God's plan all along? That He knew Tamar was tough enough to take matters into her own hands by posing as a prostitute?
The list goes on with Rahab, the prostitute, Ruth the Gentile, Bathsheba (even though not specifically named) an adulterous woman, and Mary an unmarried pregnant woman. These were women who didn't come from rich or well-known families. They weren't even all Jewish. They were simply sinful women who were obedient.
How to face tough times.
These women were obedient. Everything that was expected of them, they did.
"If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land." Isaiah 1:19
"Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!" Psalm 112:1
These women also feared God. I'm, of course, talking about a healthy fear.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7
"Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity." Proverbs 28:14
Make Provision for the Future
These women all knew the value of investing in the future.
"The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty." Proverbs 21:5
"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." 2 Corinthians 9:6
While not all their stories tell us this specifically I imagine these women desperately praying and listening to God's nudging.
"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17
"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." Jeremiah 33:3
These women knew they were doing the right thing and believed through their desperation that good would come from it.
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." Romans 12:12
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
Some of these verses may seem to you like they get repeated so many times. You may even think they get "overused." I never tire of these verses. Especially Jeremiah 29:11. It's a constant reminder to me that He does have a plan for me. He had a plan for these five women. Not only to be part of His plan to bring Christ into this world, but to be spoken of and listed in the genealogy of Jesus. In order to show us that it doesn't matter who we are, He can and will use us. He’s shown this to us in His word over and over again how He uses the most unexpected people. He does, without question, have a plan for each of us.
Selling our saddles is NOT an option.
We must persevere. It may look bleak right now wherever you are. You may be facing some tough times, but please let me encourage you with this promise: God has a plan for YOU. Choose to stay tough, my friend 😊
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