Too often we look at the Hard Place and what it means to Us rather than what it can mean to Him and Others. That does not mean we are to be insensitive, impatient, cruel to someone who is suffering. With such words as “you need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps” or “Get over it” or to downplay their pain, sorrow, difficulty in their HARD PLACE. That kind of behavior reveals something about our own hearts if we treat the broken, wounded, hurting, grieving, with such un-Christlike attitudes. “But God…” who is working in us, works through us even in the hard place.{Phil 2:13}.

I have a dear friend who was married for fifty years whose wife passed into Glory a few months back. I call him regularly, and at times during our conversation, he will break down in tears, but I do remember him saying after she had gone to be with the LORD, after years of illness, and he being her carer…that He said to the LORD he was ready to serve wherever he wanted. And then opportunities opened for him, to share in the grocery store, to share at another shop, to share with ex-soccer players whom he had coached, to share with a missionary. to share at a church. He is in the HARD PLACE, “But God…” is working in him and through him and he is looking beyond his pain to care for the souls of others. Sometimes we can get in the HARD PLACE, and we no longer see those who come into our environment, circumstances, and we tend to turn inward and often spiral downward in despair, depression, instead of acknowledging how Hard it is to the LORD-which is to Turn UPWARD to Him and then OUTWARD to others. REMEMBER when Jesus was on the Cross- THE HARD PLACE… He looked UPWARD to His Father and OUTWARD to others…”Father forgive them they don’t know what they do…” And told one of the disciples to care for his mother Mary!
So, back to my point. In THE HARD PLACE, we must learn to LOOK UPWARD AND OUTWARD!

Paul gives us a good example in Philippians 1:12. He was in prison and had some believers turn on him, yet he turned UPWARD to God and prayed-{Phil 1:3-6;9-11}. He turned OUTWARD to others, as he Evangelized {Phil 1:13} and also encouraged the believers to speak the Word of God boldly without fear and many did and he gives the reason why “…because of my imprisonment”-{1:14}. In his HARD PLACE, he had perspective…Eternal perspective manifested in His LOOKING UPWARD TO GOD and praying. As a result, he looked OUTWARD TO BENEFIT OTHERS, through evangelizing the lost, and encouraging the believers- and so in his circumstances, he could write to the church from his prison, “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.”-{Phil 1:12}.

The word “advance” is sometimes translated as “Furtherance” in some Bibles. It was used of “woodchoppers” who went ahead of the coming army and removed all that would hinder the army from moving hindrance-free. For the “wood-choppers” would remove any obstacle that would hinder the army. Paul said because he was in those circumstances, THE HARD PLACE…. the Gospel was going forward…He was imprisoned in body, but not in eternal perspective as seen by the choices he made in THE HARD PLACE…and he did this because he was CHRIST-CENTERED-{Read Phil 1:20-21} and for… OTHERS! He was OTHER orientated…He was LOVING GOD and LOVING OTHERS! Loving God is to look UPWARD. Loving others is to Look OUTWARD towards others-{Read Phil 2:3-5}

It is easy for us to lose perspective in the HARD PLACE. We have to ask Him to remind us as we are prone to forget that we exist for Him and we are on assignment for Him. {Read Phil 1:16}. We are prone to look INWARD and downward spiral and at that moment, be it minutes, hours, months years, we will find we do not look Outward because we have stopped looking Upward to Him! We are here on earth to be about His business.-{Read Matt 6:33}

ISN’T THE FIRST AND GREATEST COMMANDMENT TO LOVE GOD… AND LOVE OTHERS. The HARD PLACE still affords us opportunities to do so, and by the Spirit strengthening and shaping us, He will empower us to LOVE God and OTHERS. And if we have sinned? We have an ADVOCATE with God-Jesus the Righteous whose blood continuously cleanses us and as we repent be assured the Spirit will refresh us and as we focus, we can begin again to Love God and Others even in THE HARD PLACE.-{Read Phil 1:6. 2:13; 2 Cor 12:9}-

The GOD News? You are never on your own in THE HARD PLACE! He is present WITH you and FOR you.-{Hebrews 13:5-6}

  • His PROMISES are FOR you, Given to assist and strengthen you.-{Read 2 Peter 1:4}
  • His LOVE is unwavering, unchanging, and CONTINOUS.-{Read Rom 8:35-39; Rev 1:5-6}
  • His WORD is your GUIDE to Govern and Liberate you continuously.-{Read John 16:13-15; John 8:32}
  • His SPIRIT has been Gifted to empower you, teach you, comfort and point you to God-{Read Phil 2:13; 2 Peter 1:3}

IN THE HARD PLACE- Ask Him to Help you remember to LOVE HIM and LOVE OTHERS…And thank Him He has given you His Spirit to strengthen you to do so,-{Read Phil 2:13}; And ask Him to form in your thinking that you are on Eternal assignment while on this earth, in the pleasant times as well as THE HARD TIMES! -{Read Rom 12:2-3; Phil 1:16; Col 3:1-3}

A Good study may be for you to read each Bible reference and in doing so you put yourself in the Book of truth and the Spirit of God can affirm, strengthen, comfort, equip you, point you to the LORD and to also help OTHERS. I love Ezra 7:10 where Ezra studied to know God and also to teach others and in Nehemiah 8 when the people were rebuilding the wall and the Scripture was brought out they called on Ezra to explain it to them. And he who had been in the Word was being PREPARED for such a time…to magnify the LORD and… to help the spiritual condition of OTHERS. We never just study or read for ourselves…. there are always OTHERS who can benefit!

Your HARD PLACE may just be a stepping stone for you in the circumstances you find yourself in, your own HARD PLACE- to come alongside others to Pray, Evangelize, Encourage them to speak the Word of God boldly, and to comfort them with the comfort God has given you in THE HARD PLACE-{Read 2 Cor 1:4}

God bless and encourage you –