God's word in today's world

Hardship builds muscle

I can really identify with Mel (not her real name). Maybe you too? She writes:

For the past few weeks, I feel like everything is just going wrong and nothing is working out. It feels like I’ve gone through hard times in the past, but what I’m going through right now takes the cake.

I know I will get through this, but I don’t know how yet. I have mixed feelings that this is going to work out, but when?

It’s even hard for me to talk to the Lord. Because how can I see all the negative things in my life and still believe that it will turn out positive?

I get weak so easily these days. Probably because I’m not in a good, positive space. I don’t have enough wisdom to see my muscles. I trust God, but I am terribly weak.

That’s why I pray this prayer:

It’s not always easy for me to understand why I have to go through all the hardship. I know that You will make everything work out, but I’m suffering, really, really suffering. I just wanted to say that. Amen.

We all end up on the edge of a cliff now and then, and, yes, we lack the wisdom, we lack the strength to continue, and we end up with a lot of questions for God. One why after the other is fired off into the dark.

There is not always an answer as to the exact reason why hardship hits us. At some point, we do get clarity on what God wants and can do with the hardship in our lives.

At our campsite at the end of last year, a bunch of us went cycling often. There were many beautiful roads and mountains and forests where we could ride. But every time we wanted to go for a ride, we first had to struggle up an 8km pass.

I didn’t like it. My body is probably too heavy for the chassis. It took about half an hour before I could reach the top of the pass. But when I got my breath back, I enjoyed the beautiful nature.

Later I noticed that the struggle up the hill was getting shorter and shorter. It was because I was starting to get fitter and my muscles were starting to work better.

That’s what hardship does. God uses hardship to make us stronger. He uses the hardship in our lives to cut down what does not fit into the picture He has of us. Yes, I know you don’t want to hear it when things are tough, but just look how much stronger you’ve come out of the mess and how much more wisdom you’ve gained.

It’s like gold, isn’t it? We know that gold is heated up a lot to get rid of all the garbage in it. As the gold heats up and melts, the more rubbish is pushed out, and the purer the gold is.

Even the Bible uses this example.

7Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

1 Peter 1:6-9

How much have you suffered?
Was God there?
What did it do to you?

Father, sometimes I still struggle and yes, then I want to throw all my toys out of the cot. I know it makes me stronger. I know You’re using it to shape me, but please just give me enough strength to push through. I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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