Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Hard Times

"The Christian life isn't easy... In fact, things may even get harder for you."

If I had a nickel for every time I've heard this in a sermon, I may be the richest music major in the world. This always bugged me a little bit, and I haven't understood it until recently. I understand that Christians preaching their faith don't want to win people over by fooling them that Jesus will take away all of their problems. And that is a great point to to make. That tactic won't ever get any real, long term results. But what I think should always be included in these statements, is that as a Christian, we are fueled and constantly refreshed by the grace, the joy, the love, and the goodness of God. In turn, this allows us to bear our burdens joyfully. 

Hard times are... hard... I don't think anyone eagerly looks forward to the hard times that will inevitably happen in our lives. But this is the truth that God has made apparent to me through my life. Our hard times are the times where we grow the most. During these seasons, we may be stripped away of everything that we may have previously relied on. During these times, we will find that the only unfailing, constant, and eternally dependable source of goodness for us to fall into is Jesus. Then we will come out of these seasons with this new wisdom, and we will be ten times stronger than we were before. 

We often times pray that God will grant us wisdom and reveal new things to us everyday. But as soon as hard times hit, we pray that God will take them away. It's like we want the end result, but we don't want to endure the trials necessary to get to that point. I went to a conference recently, and one of the pastors said something that made me smile. "You have to be careful about what you pray for, because you might just get what you ask for."

These hard times are pure opportunity that God gives us! I don't think that we should ever just cower and pray that God takes away our trials. We should be thankful that God is giving us the opportunity to grow into a wiser and stronger Christian, and take advantage of whatever the circumstances around us may offer. During these phases, we should empty our minds of all of the noise, and just listen to what God is telling us. Because I guarantee you that He is there, and He's trying real hard to get you to notice something. He speaks to us through our circumstances, and if we just keep our hearts and minds open, we will see Him. 

The thing that sets us apart from the rest of the world is Jesus. He gives us joy, which should keep us constantly fresh and renewed. This is why we can always be joyful, even in the difficult times. I believe from the outside looking in, we should confuse people a little bit. We shouldn't appear perfect or trouble free, but people should always be able to see and feel the joy and love that shines through our lives, even in the hardest of times. The moment we try to act perfect, and act like our life is all happy and 100% trouble free, that is the moment we lose our attractive qualities that draw in others. People are attracted to authenticity.

A hard question that I thought about, is how do we exemplify the life of Christ in our own everyday living? In the good times, and the not so good times? Just being a "good person" isn't what makes us Christian. Buddhists can be good people, Muslims can be good people, etc. But what noticeably sets us apart from everyone else? OUR Jesus is what makes us different from the rest of the world. How does that show in our life?

I think it's important that we accept the hard times, and be open to change and transformation. And I don't think it's always easy to change either. That can be a whole other season of difficult times. But I think that once we see the reality that God is trying to show us, we will be willing to endure with a joyful attitude. 


  1. Hi...Mom and Dad here...We like that you are really thinking about these things and it is great that you are writing them down. It may prove interesting to re-read it when you go through another hard trial down the road. I think this joy isn't just a spiritual/feeling kind of thing but it is also a disciplining of the mind kind of thing. It is easy to walk around sad and discouraged when times are tough because that feels natural. It is often for me (mom) unnatural to think about joy in these time and that is where the disciplining of the mind comes in. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I agree that it is in the hard times that we mature and change for the better. I find that in relationships, too -- relationships are very hard because you constantly bump into the next problem, and then have to struggle and grow again and again.

    Of course, there's other stuff... like nursing school and horrible teachers, for me... that's also hard. But I've grown a lot during the times I've been treated poorly. Would I do it again? No! But in a way, I am glad bad things happened. It helps me have mercy on others.

    I like what you say about having a joyful attitude in trials. I find that I can be particularly bad about this... But I am improving, slowly but surely!

    Good post! I intend to read more of them! :)