Some of my favorite pieces of advice are. . .
Life is hard!
Get over it.
Nothing lasts forever.
Why? Because life is just hard!!!
Obviously, I am being sarcastic (insert eye roll). I truly don’t like these nuggets of negativity. However, from time to time I am guilty of launching them myself. Mostly, it’s because I really don’t know what to say to someone who is struggling. Generally, they aren’t asking me for anything more than a listening ear, but I still feel compelled to respond with some type of “encouragement.” Turns out, these phrases are not encouraging.
Life is hard. Well, duh! Thanks for that tidbit! I fully realize that life is indeed hard and I’m fed up with it at the moment. I honestly want to move on, but I am not sure how. Getting over it is taking forever and it sure feels as if it will last forever!
Who’s with me? Show of hands, please!
These phrases are usually generated in response to an expressed hardship be it by someone else or perhaps our own. Hardship is what’s being addressed here which comes at us in all shapes, sizes, and duration. It’s an interesting word, hardship. The teacher in me sees this compound word and wants to break it down. So, let’s do that.
Thanks to Webster, the word hardship as it pertains here means, “something that causes or entails suffering of privation.” Again, the teacher now needs to look up privation, “the state of being deprived, especially: lack of what is needed for existence.” My favorite definition that Webster provides is the kid’s definition, “something (as a loss or injury) that is hard to bear.”
That last one is the most poignant. Life and its hardships are hard to bear! Paul says in Acts 20:23, “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.” (NIV) Two things strike me, first he knows what is ahead; hardships AND prison. Second, the Holy Spirit warns him. In order for there to be a warning, there has to be a witness! The Holy Spirit was with Paul therefore, he knew exactly what was ahead because of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Hardships are no match for the Spirit.
It’s difficult to simply “move on” when we are bearing or living out hardship. We are reminded in 2 Corinthians 12:10 where Paul again writes, “. . . for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” That doesn’t sound like something I want to move past too quickly! Ever notice how the Bible is full of opposites? This is a prime example. When we are weak, we can ride the wave of His strength up and over whatever hardship we are facing. It’s the only way we can “move on.”
Maybe, what we need to “get over” isn’t the hardship itself, but rather who we think we are. Our friend, Paul, continues in 2 Corinthians 6:1 exhorting the church in Corinth, “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.” Did you catch that phrase, co-workers? Jumping down to verse 4, he continues, “Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;” The list continues, but the point here is we are God’s co-workers and His servants. If we face hardship, it isn’t without His knowledge or oversight. When we come to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are no longer our own, we are His servants and co-workers. Hardship just comes in the job description.
Listen, I get it! Life isn’t your favorite rollercoaster today. It’s not always the cheesecake that you dream about on your next cheat day, but it really isn’t going to last forever! God promises this in Revelation 2:3, “You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.” Did you notice the past tense verbs? This verse acknowledges the hardships that the church in Ephesus had faced and lived to tell the tale! Hardships can be endured and if they could do it, then so can you and I. The words “persevered” and “endured” denote conclusion.
So, guess what?
Life is hard, we know it is, but the Holy Spirit is always with us.
You can move on from weakness to strength.
Get over who you think you are.
It really isn’t forever after all.
Our hardships can reflect the grace and mercy of Jesus if we will just let them.
3 thoughts on “Hardship”
Going through the storms that head our way, Gary and I believe that God would always get us to the other side! (Even when it wasn’t the timing we had in mind). Never the most pleasant but He always has been Faithful and we never would of found out his faithfulness otherwise!
Totally agree! He is always faithful!!!
He is so faithful!