We have all experienced difficulties, some more than others. It is just a natural part of life. We just don’t like it. We become uncomfortable and our normal becomes abnormal and we do not understand how to proceed.
I have found there are basically two kinds of people in the world. Those who for whatever reason cannot or will not accept the hard stuff and those who accept the hard stuff and become better for it.
One way to explain this is in marriage. Anyone who is married probably said some type of vows on their wedding day. Perhaps even the ever popular,
“For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health…”
We lovingly look into our loved one’s eyes and repeat them with all sincerity, until the day comes when we both or one or the other find ourselves worse, poor and/or sick. We question, we hesitate, we fume, we are not sure what to do. We wonder, “Why us?”
Some of these situations may be temporary or long term, sometimes we can sail along for a while, other times the wait for the comfortable and normal times is excruciatingly long.
Jesus told us as clear as day that we would have trouble in this life.
So, why do we struggle so much when life isn’t okay and what can we do and learn from these situations?
As I mentioned, there seems to be two kinds of people, those who avoid, ignore, or downright do not accept the difficulties and do whatever it takes to make things seem as normal as possible and those who become better for these troubles.
For those of you in the second camp, the folks in the first camp can be quite hard to deal with. I found this quote recently,
“You can’t change the way the wind blows, but you can adjust your sails.”
I love this. I love the positivity in this.
One of my favorite books in the Bible is Titus. Paul writes to this young man to encourage him in his work. Even in the face of hardship and difficulties, Paul continually builds him up and reminds him why it is so important to keep on keeping on even in the face of opposition and downright laziness on other’s parts.
Titus 2:11-14 in the NIV says,
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Titus 3: 14 (The Message) says,
“Our people have to learn to be diligent in their work so that all necessities are met (especially among the needy) and they don’t end up with nothing to show for their lives.”
There is some very specific wording used here, action verbs to be taken seriously. For example,
This is not a life of sitting around and waiting for something better to happen, or making what is happening just seem okay in the moment. Not at all. This is kingdom come and kingdom business that needs to be attended to.
We are called to act and to allow God to work in us and through us. Philippians 2:12-18 (The Message) says,
“What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure. Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out in the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.”
My favorite part in this is the simple line, “no second-guessing.” The NIV says, “arguing.”
Oh, how we often times question, grumble, complain, second-guess, and argue with God about how things are going.
The point here for us all is to make a difference in the lives of those around us, even in the hard stuff.
“…a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.”
Be a breath of fresh air for others to inhale affection and exhale grace.
Help others to truly see God and what he is doing in all our lives.