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Trusting God When Times are Hard (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
September 20, 2022 6:00 am

Trusting God When Times are Hard (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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Today's guest on Focus on the Family is Crystal Evans Hurst, and she offers hope for those who are hurting.

You still can have in the midst of the best of times, and the worst of times, the right perspective, and the right perspective changes everything. There's more encouragement ahead from Crystal. Thanks for joining us today. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. We've had Crystal visit our studios here in Colorado Springs twice over the past few years, once with her dad, our good friend Dr. Tony Evans. Crystal is a very dynamic speaker, and so today we're featuring a presentation that she gave to a big crowd at a Women of Joy Conference, and I think you'll hear echoes of Tony in her speaking style. Yes, she really does have energy, and that passion comes through, and Crystal is a blogger, a podcaster, and the author of the book She's Still There, Rescuing the Girl in You.

We have copies of that, of course, swing by the website to see more. And I should note that Crystal is a homeschooling mom and also a grandmother. With that, here's Crystal Evans Hurst speaking at Women of Joy, as you said, Jim, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on today's Focus on the Family.

Good morning. Listen, I love it to be in a room full of women who love Jesus and who are taking the opportunity to be in a room with women who also love Jesus, because something happens when women get together to sing praises, to let it all hang loose, and to just have a good time. Are you having a good time so far this weekend?

I'm so glad to be here with you. My husband is floating around somewhere in the building. Normally I leave him home with our boys, and they are all happy that I'm gone, because then they do things that they don't think I know about, but I know. I see the folded up cereal boxes in the trash can, you know, the Frosted Flakes that I don't buy, the Cocoa Puffs I don't buy, the Lucky Charms that I don't buy, the wrapper from the Honey Buns.

I know what they're doing when I'm not there. I always just ask him, hey, when I come back, can you just make sure that everybody's alive? And so I'm really grateful to him most of the time for sharing me and letting you borrow me for a weekend or two here and there.

But this weekend he's with me, so I just wanted to honor him. We have five children from ages 30 to 13. I don't know how that's possible, because I'm not even 30 yet, but whatever. We also have three and a half grandchildren. We have two boys still at home. Everybody else is either in college or out of the house, and the two boys are teenagers.

I have teenagers in the house, and I am happy about it. What I always tell them, though, is that when they are looking at me, and I really do believe that there's a point in the lives of young people where when you're the mom, especially when you're dealing with those of the male species, it doesn't matter what I say. All they hear is wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, and they give me these crazy looks like they don't really understand what I just said. And then I make sure that I tell them, you're the one who's crazy, not me, not me. You're the one with the raging hormones. You're the one who's trying to figure out who you are.

You're the one that is trying to figure out what you're going to do when you get all of the freedom in the world to leave our house, but I actually am not the crazy one you are, and that's okay. I love you anyway. A dear lady that I don't know in an elevator one day was asking me about the ages of my children, and I told her at the time my oldest was 13. She said, can I give you some advice?

I'm going to give you this advice for free. I said sure. She said, just feel sorry for her. I said, what do you mean? She said, well, would you want to go back and go through all that?

I said, probably not. She said, exactly. So whatever it is, just tell her, I'm so sorry that you're going to have to be on punishment this weekend, but I love you. I'm so sorry you don't like what I said, but I love you. Or in the case of my daughter, I'm so sorry that your room does not have a door that's on the hinges because it's my room, not yours.

I'm so sorry. And I just realized that my 13-year-old is turning. You know, there's a point in time, and it could be, depending on the kid, it could be 11, 12, it could be 15. There's a time where you look at them and you go, oh, it's happening to you.

Does anybody know what I'm talking about? You just start seeing it's just a turn. I looked at my baby boy and I said, oh, you're turning on me. And he said, no, I'm not.

I said, yes, you are. This is the baby who has been tracking with us with all the other things because you know when you have a bunch of kids and the younger kids come along, I don't care what you think you're doing with those older kids in terms of scheduling and being official and having all of your ducks in a row. When those younger kids come, they just got to do what everybody else is doing and catch a nap where they can. And so this is the youngest child who used to go with me to all the sporting events and he was just easy and he still is pretty easy. There was a season where we were playing football and we're homeschool parents on accident now for 20 years. Every year I look at my husband and say, are we still doing this? He says, I guess so. I said, OK, well, I guess so. I used to stress out about it, but three of them now have gone to college.

I must be doing something right. The baby, though, has been tracking with us to all these homeschool football games. And when you play homeschool sports or maybe you know this to be true because of private school sports, you really just have to go where you can play. So that often means we're going far distances to play games. On one particular Friday night, we were going about 45 minutes away from our home. We took two separate cars. My husband took the two older boys and I said I would come later with the younger one. We drove all those those two cars out north. We live in the Dallas Fort Worth area and we won the game.

It was great. After the game, we decided to go to Whataburger because after the game in Texas, we go to Whataburger. And my children are so very excited. I don't typically buy soda in our home. It's kind of a special guest Sunday. Big family have a hospitality thing. And other than that, we don't really have soda in our house.

So it's a big deal. And my children get the big size and they go to the spigot. And my youngest son just looks at me smiling while he says. Because he wants to get all the different flavors of soda. Now, when you were young, did you do that? Where you just filled up with all the different flavors? What do we call that?

There you go. And I don't even know why we do that because it's nasty. But I think when you're younger, it's just the idea that you can have all the flavors and do whatever kind of mixture you want. And so he got all the flavors and was just smiling at me while he was doing it because he was so excited. Came, sat down, ate his burger, ate his fries, drank the majority of his soda. When it was about time to go, he said, Mom, before I go, can I fill up my soda again? I said, sure. So he went back there, filled it up again because he wanted to make sure that he took this opportunity to drink as much soda as he possibly could. So we get in the car.

He and I are traveling home by ourselves. And the traffic is horrible. It's a Friday night and there should not be traffic on the Dallas tollway.

But there totally was. And I'm just riding my brakes down the tollway thinking it's already been a long night. We already spent extra time after the game going to Whataburger.

I cannot wait to go home. You know that feeling that you have when you're in traffic and you don't even know why you're in traffic, but at some point the traffic breaks and you may never even know why the traffic was happening. You don't see the accident.

You don't see the car on the side of the road. You just know now I can go. So the car in front of me obviously got the signal that it was time for him to go. So he hit his gas and I looked at him and thought, this is awesome. And as soon as he took off, I took off. Well, he misjudged how fast he should have been going.

So he took off and then immediately hit his brakes really hard, which meant I then had to hit my brakes really hard. Now, the good news is I had my seat belt on. My son had his seat belt on.

But there was one thing in the car that did not have the seat belt on. Y'all, that soda from Whataburger went flying forward. It splashed against the front of my windshield and all of that juice came ricocheting off the windshield back onto my face, into my hair, into my purse, all over my car. But, y'all, I'm a good mother. I'm a good mother. So the first thing I said out loud out of my mouth was, baby, are you OK? Well, I don't think my son was a good son that day because the first thing out of his mouth was my soda!

And that really upset me because I'm thinking not only have I damaged by your soda, you're not damaged by the soda, you're in the back seat. My car still to this day, there's a button in my car that if I press that button, it sticks, which means it shortcuts the electric circuit for everything else and none of the other buttons will work. Still, I have cleaned that thing with alcohol, stuck Q-tips in around it, put a knife in there trying to clean it up. It's still stuck. Y'all, this was like seven years ago. The button's still sticking.

But you know what? The car has paid off, so it is what it is. I'm not... I was also upset because to me, of course, my vantage point as a mom, his vantage point as a young man, my vantage point is that we are OK, you are OK, you had your seatbelt on, and that's why I said that to him. I said that to him because I know that had I not hit my brakes or had we not had our seatbelts on, this could be a story that did not end very well for our car or for our lives.

And I'm thinking as I'm looking at him, you totally have the wrong perspective. Boy, I need you to be grateful. I just saved your life. You had your seatbelt on. I saved you from impending injury or impending death. And all you can think about is that doggone soda. And that's not the last time you're going to have it.

And there's more where that comes from. But I saved your life. And sometimes, y'all, I wonder if God doesn't look at us girls when life stops suddenly for us or when we run into unexpected traffic or when we have to hit the brakes hard because something in front of us is not doing what we expected it to do and something in our lives flies off the handle, does something we don't expect. And when God looks at us and he's saying, girl, listen, I know you're okay.

You have the seatbelt of the blood of Jesus Christ holding you in and guaranteeing your life. And you are crying over something that spilled. And I need you to get correct perspective because I've saved your life. And probably what you're crying over, there's either more where that came from or you don't need to worry about because you'll have everything you ever want in eternity with me.

I need you to get correct perspective, girl. So what I want to do this morning is just to walk you through a passage of scripture in hopes that it helps your perspective. Now I realize, I understand it because in my own life I know what it is to have things spill. Something that you hold precious and dear, something that you thought you'd be able to enjoy for longer than you had it. And it slips right through your fingers and it's disappointing, it's discouraging, it's depressing. And you are honestly more focused on the thing that you thought you'd have than the God who gave you the life to have it. I know what it is like to have the feelings and the emotions that say in a certain moment, God, are you serious? Because in that moment, listen, my son was mad at me for hitting the brakes.

He did not have correct perspective that by me hitting the brakes I actually was saving his life. And sometimes that's what happens when God allows the brakes in our life to be hit suddenly and we are just feeling the ricochet, the pain, the frustration of what has happened. And we're not paying attention or we're not knowledgeable of the bigger picture because the Bible says his ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts. And we have to realize that sometimes things are happening in our life and we don't know why. We don't have an answer.

We don't have an explanation. But we can always choose to have the right perspective. In Ephesians chapter 2, there's a series of verses that talk to us about what it means to have the correct perspective. I love reading the Bible in different versions or different paraphrases. This helps with a variety of words and vocabulary to help me look at the Word of God in a different way to see a nuance of it that maybe I don't see in the version that I always read.

So I would like to read for you actually Ephesians chapter 2 verses 1 through 10 in the message paraphrase because I love how this reads and the picture that it paints for us. It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world which doesn't know the first thing about living tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing.

When we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all of this on his own with no help from us. And then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus our Messiah.

Now God has us where he wants us with all of the time in this world and the next to shower, grace and kindness in Christ Jesus upon us. Saving is all his idea. It's all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish.

We don't play the major role because if we did, we might go around bragging that we've done the whole thing. No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and the saving. He creates each of us by Christ to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. I want to walk you through verse 10, for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand so that we could walk in them. I want you to remember to keep the right perspective even when life is not doing for you what you'd like for it to do. It's not giving what you'd like for it to give. You still can have in the midst of the best of times and the worst of times the right perspective and the right perspective changes everything.

We are his. My oldest daughter went to college at Baylor University which was at the time about an hour and a half from our house. So I would dart down there every now and again to see her just because I could. One particular Friday afternoon, I called her, I said, hey, what you doing? She told me she was about to be done with her last class and I said, well, I'm going to come down and see you this afternoon.

Just drive down there and drive back. She said, great. So I got in my car, y'all, and on the way there, I drove through Sonic because Sonic Ice is a gift to the body of Christ. Let me tell you how I order it. I get a large Route 44 cup of ice and then I get a medium sweet tea because really I don't need that much sweet tea.

I just need mostly the ice and the sweet tea to make it go down and keep it cold. It's great. So I created my own concoction in the car, got in the car and started driving down to the school. When I got to the school, I got my Route 44 out of the car and walked up to her room. When I walked into her room, she hugged me. She was glad to see me. I proceeded into her room with my Route 44 in my hand and was looking for a place to put it down. I saw her desk.

It was fairly clean. So I set it on the desk. She runs over to the desk and picks up the Route 44 and says, Mom. And she grabs a paper towel, folds it in a square, puts it on her desk and then sets my Route 44 on her desk. And I'm just in shock because I don't even know why. I'm even shocked that she cares.

Why do you care? She said, Mom, you're going to mess up my desk. Now, the first problem I have with this is it ain't your desk, girl. That's number one. This is a desk that you're only going to have for this, even this year.

And then you're going to change dorm rooms or move off campus and do something else. Number two, I'm in shock because why do you care? You're the same kid that was putting glasses all over my furniture at home.

I had to tell you all the time, please don't put that glass on that wood because the condensation from the outside of the glass is going to mess up my stuff. And you never cared. So why all of a sudden do you care? I can tell you why she cares. Because she thought that it was hers. And I'm sitting there looking at her like, not only are you not even going to have this next year, the only reason why you have it this year is because I wrote the school a check. Are you crazy? Perspective.

But in her mind, because she thought it was hers, she decided she was going to take care of it. My boys recently, in the last few years, I just looked at them and said, I'm done. I'm done with the video games. I'm not buying you any more consoles, no Wii, no PlayStation, no Switch, no nothing. I'm done. I'm not buying any games. I'm just I'm sorry.

I'm just I'm sick of it. And they were in shock because what else are we going to get for Christmas besides technology? So I saw them one day a couple of days after Christmas huddled up having a conversation. They were just sitting like really talking deeply. And then as I got closer, they kind of got quiet. Like they didn't want me to hear what they were talking about. So I kind of backed up.

But, you know, they don't know that we moms, our ears are super strength, super powered. What I realized they were doing is trying to figure out how they were going to use the gift cards and cash that they had gotten from cousins and aunts and different people, grandparents. They were going to pool their resources to buy the PlayStation that their mother would didn't get them. So they pulled the rest. I've never seen them work together and cooperate so great. It was amazing.

I said, yeah, I'll do whatever you want. I'm not buying it. So they did. They pulled their resources together and bought a PlayStation. They were negotiating who was putting what in and who's going to buy the controllers.

You all that thing arrived. They were so careful with how they set it up and they put the controllers in the right place. No one had to ever tell anybody else to find the controller. They knew where it was. Every time they finished playing, they would roll up the cords all nice and neat and put everything exactly where it was supposed to be because they paid for it. Then one time we were going out of town on a road trip and they said, well, when we get to the hotel, will the hotel have connectors for our PlayStation? I said, I don't know.

I don't know. All of a sudden the communication skills went through the roof. The research skills went through the roof. One googled the number to the hotel. The other one made the phone call. Excuse me, can I speak with someone at the front desk?

We need to know if you have HDMI connections as well as left and right sound out stereo. I'm looking at them like, wow. Then when we got ready to go, they didn't just pack the PlayStation. One kid brought out the original bubble wrap. Another kid brought out the original box. So they wrapped it back up and they put it in the box and then they were negotiating who's carrying the actual console, who's carrying the remotes and who's carrying the games. And I was like, I should have been parenting like this a long time ago.

This is phenomenal. Do you want to know why they were acting like that? The same reason my daughter was acting that way with my Route 44. They thought it belonged to them. When you think something belongs to you, you take care of it differently. There's a difference in how you take care of the repairs that are needed for an apartment than a home. It's different.

It's different when you're in a hotel room versus when you're in a lodging that you take care of and that you're responsible for. It's different and it is different in the same way with God. He takes care of what belongs to him, which means he takes care of you and I. So I realize that there are times in your life where there may be things that spilled, things that you're disappointed about, things that have been depressing or discouraging, things that you were hoping to enjoy that you didn't get to enjoy as long or at all. And I realize that when those things slip through your fingers, when they make a mess in your life, the reaction is to think God doesn't love me. He doesn't care. He didn't even allow me to keep the thing that I was so looking forward to enjoying or that I was so hoping that I would experience. And you have to remember that God takes care of what belongs to him.

He takes care of you unless you think that he does not take care of you or that you don't belong to him. Let me read some passages of scripture for you. Genesis 127 says that God created man and woman in his image. Psalm 24 one, the earth is the Lord's and all it contains the world and those who dwell in it. Psalm 100, verse three. Know ye that the Lord, he is God and is he who has made us and not we ourselves. We are his people and the sheep of his pasture. Isaiah 43 one. But now, says the Lord, oh God, your creator, oh, Jacob, and he who formed you, oh, Israel, do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name.

You are mine. First Corinthians six, 19. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, who you have from God and your body is not your own? You belong to him and God takes care of those things, those people that belong to him. So when you are thinking in your life that things are falling apart, you have to trust the fact that even though it seems like what you want has slipped through your fingers, what you desire you don't have, what you had hoped for has not come to pass, that the most important thing is you and you belong to God and he is taking care of you.

And I was thinking in the sun with my son in the car, as long as you're OK, I can buy you another soda another day. I wonder sometimes if God is looking at you and I and saying, listen, I know it's devastating, but I can do another time exceedingly abundantly above and beyond everything that you can ask or think Ephesians three tells us. Don't get too hung up on this, because what if there's more to your life than this? You are his. So you've got to develop a holy confidence in who you are because of whose you are. You are his workmanship. We've been enjoying a message from Crystal Evans Hurst, speaking at a Women of Joy conference, and we'll continue her presentation next time. That was so good.

I love Crystal's story about her kids taking excellent care of their PlayStation because they had to buy it themselves. That's human nature. And it's a great illustration of the fact that God will take care of us in good times and bad because we belong to him. And we are his workmanship and we are his children if we've accepted Jesus Christ as our savior and Lord. In fact, in the New Testament book of Matthew, chapter seven, verse 11, it says, if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give good gifts to those who ask him? God wants to give us good things, but sometimes our circumstances don't line up with that promise.

And that can be so difficult. And if you're going through a hard time right now, we have a wonderful staff who would welcome the opportunity to talk to you and refer you to one of our Caring Christian counselors. If you need that, a counselor can call you back for a free one time consultation and even help you find a like minded therapist in your area. That's a service we've been providing for over 40 years here at Focus on the Family. The goal is to help your family thrive in Christ. Here's the feedback we received from Barbara.

Throughout our 30 years of marriage, my husband and I leaned heavily on focus to help our blended family truly thrive, not just survive. We made use of your counseling services and other materials. And now we are so grateful to be reaping the benefits of all the support you provided. Thank you.

That's so good. And let me give a big shout out to the donor community who make our free counseling services possible. We couldn't help families like Barbara's without you. And if you haven't given to Focus on the Family, let me encourage you to do so today. You can do ministry through Focus. And when you make a donation of any amount, we'll send you a copy of Crystal's book.

It's called She's Still There Rescuing the Girl in You. If you're wondering what God had planned when he created you, maybe you regret some decisions from your past. This is the book for you. Crystal explains how to become the person God intended you to be. So get a copy from us today. Get your copy when you call 800, the letter A in the word family, or look for the link in the episode notes. Donate as you can and request your copy of She's Still There and support the ministry of Focus on the Family. We'll include a free audio download of the entire presentation as well, by the way. Next time, more encouragement for Difficult Days from Crystal Evans Hurst.

Maybe instead of lamenting your mess, you just need to own your mess and say God knows what he's doing. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to this Focus on the Family podcast. Please take a moment and leave a rating in your podcast app and share about this episode with a friend, won't you? Maybe you know someone who could really benefit from Crystal's encouragement. I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. As Alexander DeSanctis speaks on how abortion harms our culture and disadvantages women. Register at FocusOnTheFamily.com slash Lighthouse.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-23 01:42:15 / 2023-01-23 01:53:50 / 12

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