Do hard times make or break us?

From the Pastor’s Desk-

Jeremiah 17: 5 – 8 “…Cursed be the man that trusteth in man…” vs. 5 “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord…” vs. 7

The difference in fruitfulness and barrenness might be described as the difference in green and brown. Most yards turn brown in the fall, but turn green again in the spring. In the winter months, the trees are bare and the grass turns brown. Then in early spring, the trees begin to bloom (think pollen), and gradually the leaves come out. If it is a fruit bearing tree, then in a few months the fruit will appear!

Jeremiah contrasts the person who trusts in the flesh, and the person who trusts in God. The person who trust in the flesh is like a heath, that is a scrubby and barren place. The person who trust in the Lord is planted by the waters and bears fruit year round. 

If you are a Christian, how would you describe yourself? Are you brown like winter, or green like summer? This may not be an easy question to answer, but you can test yourself by Jeremiah 17: 8 where it describes the person that is planted by the waters. They are not bothered by the heat or the drought, but just continue bearing fruit. In other words, when the heat of persecution comes, how easy is it to turn the other cheek? When God withholds the rains and the drought comes, how are you handling the dry seasons? 

The reality is that God uses the hard times to mature us. The trials force you back to the Word and to prayer. Those are the times you draw closer to the Lord. On the other hand, it is possible that the hard times will sidetrack you. You get discouraged and miss church. You are not faithful in prayer and reading of the Word; and then you wonder what happened! It has often been said, “If you are not as close to the Lord as you once were; Who moved?” We know the answer to that question, it wasn’t God! 

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1 – 3