Skip to main content

Pushing past the hardness

You have handled Your servant well, O Eternal One, as You promised. Help me to learn good judgment and knowledge because I believe Your commandments. Before I had trouble, I strayed from the true path, the path of righteousness, but now I live according to Your word. You are truly good, and Your acts are too; teach me what You require. (Psalm 119:65-68 VOICE)

The learning of good judgment and knowledge are not always that easy.  We all learn at different paces and with different "learning styles".  I wonder how God keeps all that straight about us - I had a hard enough time figuring out my own two kids!  Yet, God does know our "style" and how it is we learn best.  He custom designs life lessons for us all the time, preparing us with each one we face for the next thing he is about to do in our lives.  This might be the hardest lesson to learn - the stuff we are going through right now may not be what he is really teaching us - it is just a doorway to the next thing he is about to do in and through our lives.  This especially is hard for us to accept when what we are facing today is kind of making us feel rather like the world is against us!

Being in the place where all of life seems to be a challenge - akin to an uphill hike on a hot summer's day without water, shade, or even a good resting spot - isn't easy.  In fact, we probably want to just cash in our chips and go back to the way things "used to be".  Anyone else like me in those kind of moments - just kind of wanting life to be "easy" again?  The problem is that we have selective memories of how life "used to be"!  It really wasn't all that easy - it was just the lessons were "basic" and became the building blocks for the next step of lessons we are on the mission to learning today!  It is like us being in kindergarten, first grade, and so on.  We'd have all dropped out of school if they handed us high school math and English lessons when we sat down on that mat the first day of kindergarten!

The truth of the matter is that "hard stuff" helps us learn the lessons of good judgment and true knowledge.  These things just don't come to us on a silver platter - they are mostly learned in the challenging times and what feel like places of broken hearts and tattered emotions.  I used to resist these times like all that mattered was "keeping things the same". In the years which have passed, I have learned that "the same" is actually the arch-enemy of learning and growing!  Think about it.  If a seed could talk, it might just be heard saying, "This ground is too hard, the pressure around me too great, and the dryness I feel right now just isn't conducive to anything good."  The seed doesn't understand that the best is yet to come!

As that seed begins to split open, a tiny root protruding, exploring the surrounding hard place in which it has been planted, it begins to send forth a small shoot of growth.  It isn't "grown", nor is the growth complete by any means.  In fact, much "hardness" and "resistance" still must be broken through.  That seed splits open to let that growth begin to take root.  Oftentimes, the best lessons in life are learned when we allow our lives to be laid wide open to God's hand and embrace the hardness around us rather than resisting it.  Yep, the work of "growing" is indeed filled with effort and hardness we might not want to have faced, but in the end as we break through the surface and begin to feel the warmth of his light fully on our face, we find the effort and hardship was all worth it!  Just sayin! 


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,