A lot of times in my life, and in the life of my community, it seems like God works in themes. In my small group last week, we talked a lot about hardship, and it is most definitely a concept that I have been walking through. A lot of times, I feel like hardship is unfair and nothing but difficult. But I’m learning to understand that God sees it differently. Scripture says that God works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) and the further I press into God the more I see that to be true.
Take hardship. We all have it, we all experience it. It is not something that we experience once and then never again. Hardship will weave in and out of our lives in different intensities with different circumstances. And God allows it. I don’t believe that God allows it because He is cruel, or because we are unprotected even; I think God allows it because we are flawed and there are lessons to be learned from it.
Have you ever met an adult that grew up in a wealthy distant family, who had no struggles, nothing he had to work for, no cares in the world. Now how many of those people, who raised that way, have you met that were loving, kind and giving? Not many. Check this out:
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athelete, he does not receive the victors crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into this.” (2nd Timothy 2:1-7)
What does this say to you? To me, it says 4 things:
1.) God gives us grace. There is a special grace that is available to us in the midst of hardship! God wants us to lean into Him and receive this from Him. He loves us and will see us through.
2.) Hardship clarifies our mission. We are soldiers of Christ, and our mission is to serve Him. Whatever our commander wants us to do, wherever He wants us to be, that’s where we’re at. Something about going through difficulty sobers us. Helps us snap back to reality that we are here to serve Christ and to love others.
3.) Hardship develops personal & spiritual discipline. Whenever I’m going through something difficult, that’s when I lean into God the most. It’s when I grow the most. God uses these times to draw us close to Him, because that’s where we find freedom and grace. Embrace it 🙂
4.) There are rewards. Think back in this past year of your life. What were some of the best parts and the worst parts? It was funny to me how some of the most troubling times led to some of the best things. We work hard, we receive a share of the crops.
GOD IS GOOD.