How do we respond to difficult seasons?
In the book of Malachi we see the people in Malachi going through difficult seasons. They are being ruled by a foreign government. They are rebuilding their homes. They are restarting their economy.
As a result of this difficult season their hearts have become hard, and as a result their words have become hard, so that in Malachi we see them asking very practical questions, "What is the profit of keeping His charge?" (Malachi 3:14)
The people in Malachi are asking, "What's the point of giving our lives to the God of Scripture if life is going to be just as hard?" In fact, the people in Malachi are looking at the wicked nations around them and seeing God's blessings. (Malachi 3:15)
Look at the Lord's response in Malachi 3:16:
Malachi 3:16, “16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name.
In verse 16 we see two great reminders for us when we walk through difficult seasons?
Are you growing in your fear of the Lord? In verse 16 we see a faithful remnant have softened their hearts toward the Lord. These men, women, and children are walking through this very same difficult season, and instead of hardening their hearts toward their Lord, they are drawing close to the Lord. Do you see it in verse 16?
Proverbs 9, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” The “fear of the Lord” is a positioning of ourselves in reverence toward the Lord. It isn’t the type of “fear” that makes you run and hide from the Lord, but the type of fear that stops you in your steps, drops you to your knees, and draws you close to the Lord.
As a follower of Jesus, the reason we open the Scriptures, bend our knees to the will of the Lord, gather on Sunday, and raise our voices in worship is because we are wanting to become a people who are growing in our fear of the Lord.
Are you growing in your perseverance? In verse 16 we see the faithful few going through hardship and it is the Lord “ who listens, hears, and records those struggles in a book of remembrance.”
It means the Lord is aware of every struggle, every hardships, and He records them in a book of remembrance because Revelation 20 teaches us one day that book will be opened up, and the God of Scripture will read off every faithful word, thought, and deed done in His name. It will be an outburst of worship!
There are times my children will open up Drop Box and watch these 10 and 15 seconds of their lives when they were infants and toddlers, and they love it. They click on every video with delight and laughter, and I wonder, “Is that what the God of Scripture does for fun on the weekends?”
Listen to me, the God of Scripture isn’t honoring you for your white knuckling perseverance, but instead He is honoring His grace and power working in you as you persevere.
Therefore, let us not be surprised by the difficult seasons we encounter in life. Difficult seasons will come, and when they do let us ask for the Holy Spirit to help us have hearts and minds that are growing in the fear of the Lord, and let us ask the Holy Spirit for help to persevere through those difficult seasons.