Surviving Difficult Times


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Reposted from A Crusty Old Sailor Remembers Vietnam

Lamentations 3:22
“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.”

In early 1968, Colonel Ben Purcell was in a helicopter in Vietnam when they came under fire. While under enemy fire, their helicopter was hit and they crashed in the jungles. As they were escaping the burning wreckage, he and the men with him found themselves surrounded by Viet Cong troops who were armed with automatic weapons.

They were marched through the Vietnam jungles to the prisoner-of-war camps. For the next few years they endured interrogations, beatings and severe punishment from the enemy. When asked what was the source of strength that allowed him to make it through the difficult time he said, “My sources of strength are quite simple: faith in God and country…” He continued to say, “Every morning I’d wake up and say, ‘Ben, maybe this is the day you are going home.’ The sun would go down and I’d say, ‘Tomorrow is another day.’”

I love what he said about how he got through the difficult times. He made it through the difficult times by keeping the hope every morning that that day could be the day they were going home. Looking to the hope of the morning is what kept him going through the difficult times.

That is exactly what God was teaching us through Jeremiah’s lamentation. The beginning of Lamentations 3 shows the difficult times in which God’s people found themselves. Yet, every morning was a new day to see some things that kept the difficult times from destroying them.
Every morning they looked to the mercies of God. They completely understood that God should have consumed them, yet in the morning they remembered they were alive because of God’s mercy. When you face difficult times, you must look to the mercies of God and realize that if it were not for His mercies you would be worse off. You will never make it through difficult times if you don’t see the mercies of God.

Moreover, every morning they dwelt on God’s compassion towards them. What does it mean by God’s compassions? It is talking about God reaching towards them every morning. Friend, every morning you must see how God has reached toward you in the difficult times. Somewhere throughout each day you will find that God has done something for you. It may be something small God has brought your way, but He only brought it your way because of His compassions. Difficult times will only be endured if you remember God’s compassions every morning.

Furthermore, every morning they acknowledged God’s faithfulness. Every morning they realized that God was faithful enough to be with them through their difficult times. Truly, this is what will help you keep your sanity. God’s faithfulness to be with you through your darkest hour is what can keep you going. In the darkest hour of your life, you can always be assured that God will be with you as you endure difficult times. It is His presence that gives comfort when the difficult times try to destroy you.

Friend, just like Colonel Purcell lived for the morning through his captivity, you must live for the morning through your difficult times. The difficult times are endured by realizing every morning may be the last day you will have to endure that difficulty. But until the difficult time ends, every morning see the mercy, compassions and faithfulness of God to get you through the dark hour of your life.

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