7 encouragements for people in difficult relationships

Encouragement #2

Your situation is one God can and will use to bring Himself glory.

There are many different ways God can bring Himself glory through difficult relationships.

We see one of those ways in 1 Peter 2:12 where Peter writes,

“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

While Peter is not promising that this will happen, he certainly views it as something that can happen. One of the ways God might glorify Himself through your particular circumstances is by using your response to change the person who is attacking you from hating God and wanting to make Him look great when Jesus returns and I bring that up because sometimes when we are in difficult situations we begin to think and talk like the only possible outcome of those situations is tragedy, and you know what, sometimes we talk like that because it really feels like that but look, while a lot of those bad things may actually happen, there’s always something good that is going to come out of whatever difficulty you are experiencing and that is that God is going to find a way to bring Himself glory.

God’s the world’s best glory hunter. He always gets his game.

One way may be the way that Peter talks about here. He may use the situation you are experiencing to change the people around you. Another way, honestly, God might not change the people around you but He might use the situation to change you.

There are all kinds of ways that God can use a difficult situation to bring Himself glory. Those are two but there are more. This is something the Bible talks about a lot.

He can use a difficult situation to cause you to stop relying on yourself and start relying on Him.

If you turn look at 2 Corinthians 1:8 and 9 you see Paul puts it like this.

He says, “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed we felt that we had received the sentence of death.” That sounds like a pretty bad situation. But Paul continues. “But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises us from the dead.” That’s one way God was using that situation to glorify Himself, by making it very clear to Paul and others that He was their only hope.

If you look at that text, you can actually see another. He can use a difficult situation to cause others to pray for you, which will then result in them giving praise to God for the way He has answered your prayers. 2 Corinthians 1:11. “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” He can use a difficult situation to produce courage and a desire to spread the gospel in the people around you.

That’s what Paul brings up in Philippians 1. He’s imprisoned, which is a pretty bad place to be, no matter what the particular imprisonment is like. And yet Paul sees that God is doing something significant in the middle of this. He writes in v. 12 and following, “I want you to know brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”

It might be that God uses your response to the afflictions you are experiencing to demonstrate that his grace really is sufficient, not just when things are going well but also when they are not.

This is something we see Paul saying was happening in the Macedonian church in 2 Corinthians 8. He writes, “We want you to know brothers about the grace of God that has been given among the churches in Macedonia for in a sever test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” Paul’s doing what? Using the way God worked in the Macedonian churches to encourage the Corinthian church to obedience. And that’s something God may be doing with you.

We can be pretty creative when we are thinking about different ways our situations can turn out for the worst and make our life more difficult. When you are suffering though you should take some of that creativity and use it to think about how God can take that situation your in and bring Himself glory; which if you are a believer, is the thing you want most.

I am definitely reading into the text but I wonder if this is something that Abraham did when he was thinking through taking Isaac up to the altar; Hebrews tells us that he thought God was going to raise him from the dead; now Abraham had never seen anyone raised from the dead, that wasn’t in the history books, but he was so sure that God was going to keep His promises, that he came up with this creative solution, I just picture him waking up in the middle of the night saying to himself, oh that’s how God is going to do it and you know, we can attempt to follow in Abraham’s footsteps when we find ourselves in difficult relationships, taking some time to think about biblical ways God might use the situation to bring Himself glory.

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