What is the hardest thing you have ever gone through in life?
Perhaps it was the death of a loved one from which you have ever truly bounced back. The grief may be enormous and relentless from that one horrific event.
Maybe it has been a moral failure that has given your life more definition than you care to admit.
Have you gone through the unfair loss of a job or even bankruptcy?
Perhaps you or someone you love dearly deals with addiction on a daily basis and that is just so hard.
For some people, it is a traumatic diagnosis, perpetual pain or health challenges that are just plain hard week after week … month after month … and year after year.
It is a sold life truth that none of us is able to escape the opportunity of experiencing something hard and devastating this side of heaven.
What is your “hard”?
I have learned to embrace difficult circumstances and situations as opportunities for greatness rather than as pathways to failure.
Let me share with you today three truths that I have learned in my life from crossing that dangerous and difficult river known as “hard”.
First of all, it seems to me that “hard” has the innate power of revealing one’s true self in a manner that days of “soft” and “easy” are unable to manifest.
Who you are in a storm is truly who you are.
Who you are in a fire is truly who you are.
Who you are on the mountaintop of life or during times of great fulfillment does not have the capacity to reveal true identity in the manner that disappointment does.
It’s just truth … who you are in the “hard” is who you are.
If you respond to heartbreaking and trying circumstances with resolve and with inner strength … that’s who you are.
If you respond to relationship challenges and family problems by whining and gossiping … that’s who you are.
If you respond to bothersome people and troublesome events with peace and with joy … then that is who you are.
You see, it is in the easy days of life that we determine who we will be in the hard days of life.
“To trust God in the light is nothing, but to trust Him in the dark … that is faith.” – Spurgeon.
The second truth that I have learned from the hard days of life is that it is in the “hard” that my relationship with the Lord is defined to a greater degree.
During a difficulty in life – I will either chase after my loving Father or I will run away from Him.
During a potentially destructive storm, I can either blame God or I can bless God.
When the flames of life around me are threatening to destroy all that I value and hold dear, I will either love God or I will loathe Him.
Let the fire for God within you burn hotter and brighter than the fire of devastation around you!
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
I must not allow my personal pain to change my view of who God is! I must remind myself day after long day that God is good all the time and that He works all things together for my good.
God has been to my future and it is good because He is good!
“Whatever comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” – Tozer
During the storms of life, I must remind myself that He is good indeed!
The third lesson that I have learned from the storms of life is that how I handle the storm just might determine my very destiny!
If I respond emotionally to strenuous and severe conditions, I will leave the storm with a limp in my walk and with a joyless outlook on my life.
However, if I am able to sing through the storm, my destiny becomes glorious and unlimited!
The world is listening for your song while you walk through the storm … while you cross the mountains of life … and while you put out the flames of a hot and angry fire.
The world is listening for the melody of your life especially when you doing hard … so sing louder and sing stronger!
If you will turn to the Lord for comfort rather than away from Him due to immense emotional pain, you will find that the landscape of your life becomes magnificent and magnetic to others!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” – II Corinthians 1:3 & 4
I have heard it said that God doesn’t comfort us to merely make us comfortable but that He comforts us to miraculously make us into comforters.
If you process your “hard” only through your personal pain and through your emotions, you will forever be paralyzed by the trauma of it all.
However, if you are able to walk triumphantly through arduous and formidable storms in life, you will find yourself as never before … you will know God as never before … and you will be used as never before.
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!