On every side I am ever hard pressed, but never hemmed in; always perplexed, but never to the point of despair, always being persecuted, but never deserted, always getting a knockdown, but never a knockout! (2 Corinthians 4:8 – Williams) Tough times are a result of us living in a fallen world. None of us are immune. Jesus told to be of good cheer when we face pressure. James tells us to count it pure joy when we fall into all kinds of tests and trials. Our attitude when going through a hard place determines how the Lord is able to minister to us during the specific test. If I gripe and complain, I don’t receive all that the Father has for me. If I choose to walk in joy, thanking God in the middle of the problem, I am then allowing the very power of God to invade the situation. Some of the deepest works of the Word into my life have been during my most challenging days. When I came to the end of myself, I found Jesus and the Father standing there as a rock, ready to embrace me in my weakness and lift me into another level of obedience and faith. Don’t despise the hard place. Thank God while going through it. I didn’t say thank Him for it, but to thank Him in it. Thank God in everything, no matter what the circumstance may be, be thankful and give thanks: For this is the will of God for you who are in Christ Jesus, the revealer and mediator of that will (1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Amplified). A pearl is the result of an irritation in the oyster. Diamonds are a result of tremendous pressure deep within the earth. Large muscles result from regular and repeated resistance. Spiritual maturity often results from great struggle. Smith Wigglesworth said great victories come out of great battles. Kenneth Hagin said hard places are God’s method of taking you into deeper places in Him. Don’t forget that Jesus who is our example, was led by the Sprit into a hard place (the wilderness) to be tempted by the devil. The Father sees the end from the beginning. Keep your focus on the written Word and on Jesus the living Word of God. Set your gaze on the Son of God by looking at the perfect law of liberty. Keep walking with God and believing the Word in the face of pressure and adversity. On the other side of the test you’ll be more mature, and the glory of God will shine brighter in your life! Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation (Romans 5:3-4 – Amplified).