Thursday, November 19, 2015

What about When Life is Hard?

Life is hard.

There really isn't any other way to put it.

More often than we want it to be true, the truth is that it's hard.

Whether it's personal stuff, or family stuff, or work stuff, or ministry stuff, or things we see happening in the world around us . . . it's hard.

And, even if we try to, we can't hide from it. We can do and try many things to run from the hard stuff of life, but it won't work. The hard stuff will go with us. And we may even make it worse by trying to run and hide from it.

So, now that I've had that slightly depressing start to this . . .

What do we do when life is hard? If we can't avoid that life will be hard, what options to do we have to get through it?

What comes next might seem like the standard Christian answer to that question, but I've realized in the last nine months that it really is what we need to do when life is hard and we're not sure how we'll get through it.

What do we do when life is hard? We take the hard stuff to God. Ask Him to work in it. Give Him control of it. Surrender. Allow God into it.

But that's a lot more difficult to actually do then it is for me to write it.

This is exactly what Scripture tells us we should do. Philippian 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." When we take the hard stuff in life to God, He replaces the worry about it with His peace. The hard situation may not change, but our ability to get through it well does, because we're not trying to do it ourselves anymore.

In 1 Peter 5:7 it says, "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." We can take our worries over the hard stuff in life to God because He cares. He cares what we're going through. He cares when we're struggling through hard times. He cares about what we're worried about or struggling with.

Sometimes when it's hard, it's a choice to continually take the issue to God. Every time we become aware that we've taken it back, whatever it is, we give it to God again. Over and over again.

If there's one thing I've learned in the last nine months, it's this: Life is way harder than I wish it was sometimes, but I can always get through it and grow through it when I continually allow God into my struggle and surrender control to Him.

The last nine months have been challenging for me. A series of events in March made life really hard. For a while, each day was a struggle just to get through. The only choice I had was to take it to God, to surrender it to Him, and to invite Him into it to do the work only He could do. Sometimes that was a decision I had to make every minute.

Now, I think I'm on the other side of this particular season of struggle in the hard stuff of life. Life isn't that hard anymore (although I'm not sure I'd say it's easy). And I know I didn't make it through because of something I did. I made it through because I surrendered control of that time to God. I'm where I am today because of God and His care for me and His working in the midst of my hard time because I allowed Him to.

I don't where this post finds you right now. But, if you're in the midst of a hard time, can I encourage you to give it to God. Invite Him in, and let Him do the work only He can do in the midst of it. Do exactly what Philippians 4:6-7 and 1 Peter 5:7 say to do. It changes everything.

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