What is the lesson here?

 What exactly do hard times teach us? Many would say it helps us develop a deeper trust in God - at least, that is what they believe to be the most 'biblical' answer and the one we want to hear. Truth be told, there are more times in the wilderness of hardship that we are struggling with why we are there, what God expects us to learn, and how we are going to deal with the issues we are facing. We might not even think about God's purpose in allowing the hardship until we are waist deep in the muck and mire of it all! 

I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. (Psalm 63:6-8)

If we consider the words of our psalmist here, you will observe a couple of pretty 'emotion filled' comments: "I lie awake" and "I cling to you". Something is keeping David awake - he is likely wrestling with some of the things we all face when going through hard times - fear, anxiety, doubt, frustration, and even a little bit of dwindling faith. The pressure is on, and sleep seems to allude him. Notice what he does when he lies awake - he thinks upon God. In other words, he doesn't just muddle over the mess, he begins to turn his mind toward what he knows and believes about the God he serves.

When he is almost at the end of the rope, he clings to God. He recognizes the extreme strength of God, and that God hasn't let go of him in the midst of the hard time. His grip on God might weaken a bit from time to time, but God's hand holds him securely. I recall another story of hardship in the bible - that of Job. He lost of everything - family, herds, flocks, crops, his home, and even his dignity. He found it hard at times to remember the goodness of God, crying out for help, but feeling as though his God was 'slow to act'. He wondered about the purpose of the trials, but even in the agony of his complaints, he never denounces his faith in God.

It is as these great men 'rehearse' the goodness of the God they served that they found their way to peace in the midst of the worst of circumstances. Maybe we could take a lesson from their wilderness journeys, my friends. They valued the love of their God - it mattered to them enough to rehearse it in their minds and trust it in their hearts. If we want to face the hard times differently than the world might face them, we might just want to keep our minds fixed on the things we have learned of God's goodness and grace. Then we might just need to take the next step of 'clinging hard to his hand'. 

What do we learn in the hard times? Maybe we learn to use what God has given us - his Word. Perhaps we learn to trust his promises and lean into them just a little bit more. We might even find we allow the extreme peace we know because we serve him to come through in the chords of praise and worship that spring forth from our hearts. Just sayin!

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