You just picked up your phone and saw that one of your friends just moved into their new facility, another hit an all-time high in attendance, and your buddy from college is speaking at a ministry conference you can't even afford to attend.
What do you do when the life you are experiencing doesn't look as good as your friends social media posts?
Lets get more specific ...
What do you do when things just aren't working?
What do you do when the budget dries up?
What do you do when attendance goes down?
What do you do when you've dropped the ball?
What do you do when you just received a phone call that changed everything?
If you don't answer these questions correctly, things will only get worse.
Here are four things you have to do when things get tough:
1. Don't jump ship.
In Acts 27 the Apostle Paul goes through a tough time. The ship is is sailing on is getting ready to crash. Many people think about jumping ship, but Paul encourages them, "unless we stay with the ship we cannot be saved".
Many times like the men Paul was traveling with, when things get tough, we want to quit the ministry, leave the church, dump the friend, jump ship and move on. But what good will that do? Running away from the tough times will not change anything. Keep trying. Keep pressing. Keep believing. Don't jump ship.
2. Hold onto what you believe.
In the same story in Acts 27, once the ship ran aground the men held onto pieces of the boat that had broken off. They held onto those pieces and floated safely ashore.
When things start getting tough, you have to hold onto that you believe.
Hold onto that passage of scripture. Hold onto that statement of faith. Hold onto what you know to be true. It just might be what it takes to get you safely to shore.
3. Trust God for supernatural provision.
God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above that which we can ask or think. When tough times come, trust him to provide, protect, deliver, and change the situation.
God parted the Red Sea for Moses, held the sun still for Joshua, surely He can help you. Don't jump ship. Hold onto what you believe and trust Him to do something that only He can do!
4. Don't become bitter.
There are very few things in life that we can control. We cannot control other peoples actions, words, or deeds. However, we can always control our heart.
Scripture teaches us, "Above all else guard your heart for it is the well spring of life".
When your ministry is not growing, but your buddy is busting at the seams, guard your heart.
When your Pastor pulls you into his office to correct you and you feel that he is not being fair, guard your heart.
When you lose something or someone that was very dear to you and you don't understand why, guard your heart.
Guard your heart against bitterness. Bitterness is a small monster that burrows it's way down deep and grows in the darkest place of our heart. But bitterness never stays there. It grows and begins to claw its way into ever area of our life.
When things get tough. Choose to not become bitter.
It would be so great to live in a world where there were no problems or opposition. But that is not the world we live in. Jesus once said, "In the world you will have many troubles, but don't worry, I have overcome the world".
Your story is not over.
Jesus tomb is empty.
Don't jump ship. Hold onto what you believe. Trust God to do the supernatural. Never become bitter.