Isaiah 30:20,21 “And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it, . . . ‘”

 Isaiah tells us that tough times come to all.  Because God is all powerful and all knowing we tend to blame our hardships on Him.  Why would God allow us to have ‘bad times’?  We quickly forget that as He fed us in the  good times’ He’s there in the bad times feeding us too.  We see that in good times or bad, God provides our sustenance.  The hard lessons are the ones that shape and sharpen us the most.   We tend to associate hard times and adversity as something that happens to us when we are bad.  In reality, bad times happen, good times happen and God is with you in all of them.   Jesus told us plainly; “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

     When I’m going through adversity and affliction, where do I go for nourishment and strength? God’s Word and  my prayers that arise out of the hope of His promises always provide strength!  The Bible is the only source of direct encouragement and guidance that I have and ever need.  I’ve read a lot of books over the years, only His rings true and provides real help.  If you’re like me, and I’m just an ordinary guy, then you have been in tough spots and desperately wondered if you would ever get through them.  God’s Word tells us the way – ‘this is the way, walk in it!’

     Oh, lots of people will tell you otherwise.  They’ll say there are plenty of different ways to get real help and support in times of trouble.  They’ll sound so spiritual and caring.  They’ll have all the answers.  These ‘teachers’ are always around you in the good times – whispering and tickling your ears with good time advice, easy wisdom and cheap grace. But when the times turn hard and the storm clouds bring darkness into your life, these easy friends fall silent and leave. The party is over!  You’re left to eat alone and you’re not hungry for the sugary ‘carbs’ of good times. You need something more filling for tough, hard and empty times.

     You need the ‘bread of adversity’ and the ‘water of affliction’. What is that?  Who would want it? God’s word is this bread.  In adversity, believers want it and everyone needs it.  Because His Word is hope.  Matthew Henry tells us; “. . . by the counsels of a faithful minister or friend, or the checks of conscience, and the strivings of God the Spirit, we are set right . . . the effect of this should be comfort and joy to the people of God. Light, that is, knowledge, shall increase. This is the light which the gospel brought into the world, and which proclaims healing to the broken-hearted.”

     Linda Jeffrey writes; “This is an immutable principle of scripture: the greater the affliction, the greater the grace and glory. Affliction is the medicine that cures your meaningless chasing after the wind. James [4] describes the sad me who is settled into the comforts of life having turned my brain off, and allowing the world to dictate my priorities. I become full of pride, not knowing my own need, cherishing my pseudo-independence, and neglecting my salvation. It is a path of destruction.” It’s in life’s tough times when our vision is cleared by tears that we see our true teacher – His Holy Spirit, always watching, always there, wanting to help, comfort and guide.

     When life has beaten you down to the ground and your spirit is gasping with your body.  Cry out! You will hear ‘a voice behind you’.  When you think you’re so alone and without help, God is there.  He’s got your back!  He was always there in good times as well as now in the bad times.  But, like me, you weren’t always listening because you were too distracted.  In the gloomy lonely silence of grief, hardship or misfortune, Jesus touches your shoulder and says; “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

     Find a Bible, there’s plenty secondhand shops that practically give them away or maybe you’ve got one just sitting in some corner of your home; open it up to the middle, you’ll be in or near the book of Psalms.  Go to Psalm 119 and find the 105th verse.  It says : “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  Start reading the Psalms and you’ll find solace, help and encouragement.  You’ll find bread of adversity and water of affliction to get you through the tough times.

    When Jesus was in the desert going through a terrible tough time, He said; “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
     Come Lord Jesus!