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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why does it have to be so hard?

by Cyndi Coleman
As my “I-don’t-do-mornings” and “I-don’t-love-school tween” and I were racing to school one morning she moaned, “Why does school have to be so hard?” Granted, this was our first day back after Thanksgiving break, and none of “my people”  (who live under my roof) felt up to our day’s demands; but her complaint disguised as a question deserved an answer. So, as we waited on a red light to turn green, I began, “Well, baby, it’s only hard because it’s all new. Next year, this hard stuff will be easier, and there will be new challenges. But ya gotta get this stuff nailed down first, so you’re ready.”


Isn’t all of life similar to this? As I look back over my life, I can see God leading me down dark and seemingly desolate paths. Those times were scary and full of new challenges (or opportunities depending on how you look at it); and  those times prepared me for what was ahead. Of course, there were times, on those paths, when I darted away from God’s guidance. Those were undeniably the most devastating and destructive times, for I had truly lost all direction. Each of those times found me caught in an entanglement of hopelessness crying for my Savior.

Coming out of those experiences, the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly, I am better prepared for new challenges coming my way. But more often, I find that these experiences enable me to encourage someone else on his/her own journey. But no matter where I’ve journeyed, two things have remained constant: God’s faithfulness to stay near me has never wavered, even when I rebelled. Secondly, but certainly not of lesser importance, is growth! Throughout the many directions and redirections of life, caused by a multitude of divine interventions or my own devious devices, I have grown closer to God. And the outcome?  I became more aware of my absolute need for him; and I am becoming more and more the woman he is molding me to be. 
 
Life is full of seasons (Ecclesiastes 3:1-22), and I have never found myself after a restful break, excited about something which seems daunting, or “so hard.” Also, during a straining stretch of life there have been few times - if any - when I paused to think: “Wow! This stress and hard work is great! I am growing and gaining wisdom for my future.” Nope. This is not who I am. You either?

Instead, I cringe, complain, and cry. However, after those times have passed, as I look back, those are the times God has been most obviously faithful. Those are the seasons in which I have grown closest to him. Looking back on those dark days, actually encourages me to remain close during the peaceful patches of life, and it is those times which minister to my uptight heart and world-tattered soul.

Maybe you are in a difficult season right now. Do you sense the Lord at work? Maybe you feel him and maybe you don’t. Whether we feel him working or not makes it no less real. He is there. He is with you even now, in this moment as you read these words. Maybe he led you here to read this right now, so you can sense his involvement.

I would love to encourage you by sharing a few tips with you:

  • Recall a previous time (good or not-so-good) when God has been faithful - or obvious. Remember it and be thankful. Pausing to pray would be appropriate, too.
  • Read The Bible. It is full of all manner of people experiencing God’s faithfulness in the midst of destruction. Draw insight and encouragement from God through his word. Not familiar with the Bible? Maybe you know a story someone has shared with you about their own life which displays his divine intervention.
  • Consider what you currently have to be thankful for and praise God for it.
Each of the above suggestions are just that, suggestions. It is your choice. We can stay negatively focused, or we can choose to refocus. Romans 12:2 offers something also, but it is NOT a suggestion. It is in the form of command with an understood subject of “You.” Try something; insert your name before the scripture as if it is being directly spoken to you - I’m going to encourage you to read it out loud. There is something beautiful and profound about speaking God’s life-giving truth aloud!

___(your name here)_________________, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Choosing to praise God during the dark, and daunting, times can be the most beautiful sacrifice you ever offer up to him. He esteems your choice to be God-focused. He is your strength to persevere. He is the light on your path. He is your deliverer and defender.

Look over the verse once more. Did you catch the beautiful nugget at the end? Here it is, again:  “...you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Are you like me? Hungry to discover God’s will, especially in the hard times. Then, let me challenge you to get God-focused, sister!! He will not lead you astray!

  • What are you currently facing in your life that is difficult?
  • What circumstances can you personally shift?
  • How realistic are you being about your circumstance?
  • How are you choosing to refocus your heart and mind so you can know what his will is for your current situation?
For more about Relevant Women - RelevantMinistry.org/RelevantWomen

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