I avoid hard times and tough choices at almost any cost. If being allergic to hard times was a thing, I would definitely be allergic. Like highly allergic. There is something buried deep inside us all that tells us we were not meant for pain and hardships, that these things are results of the Fall not of the Creation.
While it is natural to be resistant towards difficulties, it is completely unnatural to expect that difficulties will never arise. And yet, for some odd reason, Christ-followers tend to believe, either consciously or subconsciously, that when we dedicate our lives to following the way of Jesus our lives will be void of hardship. It is almost as if we think God owes us something for deciding that we want to live life the right way instead of the wrong way. But that is not the way life goes.
It is almost as if we think God owes us something for deciding that we want to live life the right way instead of the wrong way.
If you were to take a flyby of the Bible you would quickly realize that those who follow God are often those who experience some of the hardest struggles. Job, Jeremiah and James are just a few examples of the many men and women that point to faithful servants who experience great heartache. If we are honest and true students of the Bible, then we cannot help but admit that, regardless of our relationship and dedication to Jesus, hardships will eventually come our way. We cannot avoid struggles anymore than we can avoid dealing with symptoms of allergies in Knoxville, TN.
Hardships are going to come; there is no way around the matter. And when they come, they will hurt. When hardships show up they will take a toll on whoever is on the receiving end. Struggles and difficulties have a way of wearing the receiver down, shoving them around and leaving them in the dust. Like an old shirt that has been worn and roughed up, hardships leave the receiver threadbare and worn out. Chipping away at the person, difficulties leave one worn down and seemingly less than they once were. Struggles are no fun.
Like an old shirt that has been worn and roughed up, hardships leave the receiver threadbare and worn out.
So, if we cannot avoid them, what are we supposed to do with these hard times? Just as a threadbare shirt shows what is underneath it, when our souls become threadbare what is underneath them begins to show through. While we may not be able to choose whether or not we experience hardships, we do get the opportunity to choose what shines through when our souls become threadbare. We have little control over what comes our way, but we have great control over our reaction to those experiences.
If we invest the time and effort to ensure our foundation is built on Christ and a relationship with him, when hard times come our way the love of Christ will shine through. Planting our roots in a Spirit-filled life and allowing the fruit of the Spirit to develop and grow within us will ensure we are rooted deeply and securely when the storms of life come our way. What shines through our threadbare souls when struggles rear their ugly heads is far more important than worrying about when struggles will come our way.
We have little control over what comes our way, but we have great control over our reaction to those experiences.
What if we stopped looking at difficulties as experiences to escape and more like opportunities to let that which lies at the core of who we are shine through as an example and blessing to others? Becoming threadbare shows others and us where our lives are rooted. Will we stand firm in our weakness, rooted in the strength of Christ or will we succumb to a life built on the fragility of our fallen nature? When the storms of life come your way what will sine through your threadbare soul?