“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 (NKJV)
Have you ever jumped up and down, shouting with gladness when life has gotten tough? Maybe you have called up a friend and said “I have exciting news to share….it’s been a bad day today.” Maybe you have, and I think we should look at the rough patches with joy & an attitude of what to learn thru them versus complaining. Our tendency though when life gets tough is not to be excited or find something to be thankful for in the moment. I want to skirt around the “not easy,” the “difficult” of life.
I would like to think that I learn best when life is easy, but I know that is not the case. When my eldest son was around 3 years of age, full of energy, not talking very well and required a lot of specialized attention I remember praying for patience. I remember not knowing how I was going to get thru each day, let alone each moment. It was a time when life was rough, lonely, and very painful. There were moments thru the day where it was a simple prayer asking for help to make it to the next moment. God was there, walking along side me and giving me the energy and stamina needed to press in and press on. I can see how God used that tough time to show me that He was with me; He had never left. I was still very stubborn and did not want to completely surrender that His way was better than mine. Yet I can see now how the lessons learned during that time helped me overcome fears I had that were keeping me from following with abandonment. During that season hope was kindled deep in my heart that God loves me, has a plan, and never gave up on me. Almost 14 years later I am amazed at how often the lessons learned during the midst of that season are used each and every day. Sometimes the situation seems petty, the line at the store is taking way too long; but other times it is a significant situation, such as a loss of a job. The moments thru life prepare us for moments ahead. We must choose to work to have joy & believe it is for our good or choose to believe it is not for our good and let it embitter us.
When life has trouble, whether it’s a series of tiny small hiccups or something big we need to remember to….
- Respond with joy. There is always something in our day to be thankful for; even if it is that you woke up & the sun is shining (or the rain is pouring….such as a day like today)
- Remember it has a purpose. The trouble of the moment is working to produce patience – persistence – character – and hope!
- Rest in the fact Jesus understands and is walking with you. He gets it. He loves us. His love is being poured out onto us. The Spirit will and is giving us the strength to walk.
Choosing to respond with joy is believing that God has a plan, a purpose, and is using this trouble, this heartache in a powerful way. Our choices draw us near to Jesus or away from Jesus. As we learn to follow Him even when the situation is not easy who we are is changing, becoming a purer reflection of Him. The tiny responses today are what will help us when we have a bigger response required of us tomorrow.
Today…..learning to follow, listen and obey; trusting in the ONE who loves me and HE loves you too.
Scripture quotations taken from the The Holy Bible, New International Version
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