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These flames are a little too close for comfort, God!

He who knows no hardships will know no hardihood. He who faces no calamity will need no courage. Mysterious though it is, the characteristics in human nature which we love best grow in a soil with a strong mixture of troubles. (Harry Emerson Fosdick)

The people started complaining about their troubles. The Lord heard their complaints. He heard these things and became angry. Fire from the Lord burned among the people. The fire burned some of the areas at the edge of the camp. So the people cried to Moses for help. He prayed to the Lord and the fire stopped burning. (Numbers 11:1-2 ERV)

There are definitely times more difficult to endure than others, suffering almost too great to bear, and a sense of oppression too strong to bear up under for very long. It seems like one hardship after another has hit the peoples of our countries in the forms of natural disaster one upon the other. The devastation is great and the ability to "bounce back" for some of those affected will not be measured in how quickly they can "rebuild" as much as if they will have the endurance or "hardiness" to endure without complaint!

I occasionally find myself complaining about things I have absolutely no control over and at some point it dawns on me that I am not going to get control through my incessant complaints. In fact, I kind of give up even more control when I spend my days whining about the circumstances. I become the victim of whatever it is I am going through or dealing with. It may be tough to withstand the constant "blows" or "lapping flames" of what it is I am enduring, but I have discovered it rarely gets any better with constant complaint!

Is it okay to share our hardship with God? Is it okay to "complain" to him? I think it is, when our attitude remains focused on what he can do to help us IN the hard place, not to complain that we want OUT OF it. Sometimes I want to complain to God to get me out of the hard places - almost expecting him to bubble wrap me so I don't feel any of the blows! Those blows become harder and harder to bear the more I focus on the blows and less on what Jesus may help me to realize or develop while receiving them. 

I am not making light of the many hardships of those enduring excruciating devastation right now. I am reminding each of us to keep the right perspective, regardless what the circumstances are we face in life. What we must recognize it isn't so much what we avoid that makes us strong, but the things that we sometimes have to deal with face-to-face and struggle with a little, they are the ones that build the depth of character we likely need. Sometimes it means we are in the midst of hardship, while at others it is lapping at the outskirts of our "camp". Either way, take them to God and trust him with the control. Just sayin!

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