When Life Is Hard – Part Two

by Lee Buford on March 18, 2010

As I mentioned in Part One of this series, the agony of watching someone suffer through hard times in life SHOULD motivate us to take action. We should pray, love, and support this person in every way possible. In addition there are many helpful resources we can turn to for assurance and understanding that will help us do just that, a couple of which we are taking a look at in this series.

Pastor James MacDonald

I touched on Pastor James MacDonald’s new website and book, both titled, “When Life is Hard.” MacDonald is founding and Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel outside of Chicago, author of numerous books, and Bible teacher on Walk in the Word, a daily radio broadcast ministry.

In Part Two of this series I want to give you a closer look at the book and share a few reasons I believe it’s a great resource for you, and for those you may have the opportunity to help, in a crucial time of need.

MacDonald writes from the perspective of someone who’s experienced hard times and trials in his life. In fact this is the primary reason he acknowledges for wanting to write this book, to share his experiences and how the application of God’s Word has inspired and sustained him throughout such times. The foreword is written by Greg Laurie, Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California. Having lost his son Christopher in a motorcycle accident in 2008, Pastor Greg has a deep, firsthand perspective of the power and sufficiency of trusting God when we seem to be at our lowest point possible.

If you’ve ever seen or listened to James MacDonald preach or teach you know just how down-to-earth and practical he is at conveying God’s Word and providing incredible life applications to drive home the messages. This book in no different, and, as a result, is very easy to read and understand. You will have a difficult time putting it down!

In classic MacDonald fashion he opens with “what you’re not going to find in this book”, followed by the gameplan for getting the maximum value from it. Why is this important? Because he establishes at the outset that this book will not give you the following:

  1. Coping Mechanisms
  2. Existential Musing
  3. Personal Answers

 In other words, this is not a shallow, feel good, self-help book that will help you through your trials without dealing with reality. In fact, the book forces you to confront reality head-on. You will learn the difference between trials and consequences of sin, a line that is often blurred when take an introspective look at “why this is happening to me”. You will understand the difference and be prepared to take the appropriate course of action.

The book is divided into six chapters:

  1. What Are Trials?
  2. Why Trials?
  3. What to Do with Trials?
  4. What If I Refuse This Trial?
  5. Why Some Trials Never End
  6. Come Forth as Gold

 Each chapter begins with what MacDonald titles a “Glimpse of Gold”, a detailed application of the specific parts of Job 23:10, so commonly threaded throughout the book.

But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. – Job 23:10

Each chapter concludes with three very helpful sections: Prayer of Commitment, From God’s Heart to Mine, and Mining for Gold…each of which provide outstanding and practical life application for the reader.

This book is all about real-life, real-trial application of God’s Word. You will gain a newfound understanding of trials, consequences, and hard times, and you will be equipped with biblical promises, scriptures, and instructions on how to respond appropriately.

As MacDonald says in the book, “God is never more present than when His children are suffering.”

Remember this. Share this. Shine the light in someone’s darkness today. Act in faith and trust God for the results…you can make a difference!

If you have read this book, have been through a season of hard times, or have another resource you think would be helpful for those who may be trying to love someone in a difficult season of life, please share your thoughts in the comments below. I would love your perspective, and others could benefit from your experience. God Bless!

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