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The Hardship That Makes Us Thrive

Posted Mar 25 2013 10:00am

“Now therefore, our God, the great God, mighty and awesome, who keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyes–the hardship that has come on us, on our kings and leaders, on our priests and prophets, on our ancestors and all your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until today. (Nehemiah 9:31-33)

There are people who work very hard to become rich so that their children will not have to work hard, or suffer, or have to endure difficulty. Yet I have wondered if this is wise. If one never has to strive, to face hardship and difficulty, can they ever truly grow and mature?

It is hard to look at suffering as a gift, at best it is an unwanted and unlooked for gift. We do not welcome suffering in our lives and we do our best to avoid it. Yet suffering gives us a unique perspective on life, it can help us to reform our priorities, it can make us wiser, give us experiences we could not have otherwise.

I have a hard time considering suffering as anything but a lousy experience, yet looking back I must admit it has mellowed me, changed my perspective, made me acutely sensitive to the pain that others go through, and has helped me appreciate life more than I would have otherwise.

One day we may see our difficult adult lives with a new perspective, but until then, just as when we were children, we must have faith that our heavenly Parent is looking out for our good, bringing about an ultimate benefit that we may not understand in the here and now. Yet our suffering may bring us eternal benefits.

Fellow sufferer, I know how challenging it is when new troubles or old troubles are piling on. I understand how it is when life seems unfair. I will not tell you your present difficulty is a good thing in itself, it may be painful and miserable, I can only say that we have a Father that we can trust, and in the final, big picture we may understand and appreciate it all much better than we do right now.

Prayer: Dear Lord, though we do not welcome suffering and hardship, we welcome You into the midst of our pain and difficulty, and we know that all things work to our good in the end. Amen.

About the Author Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. He does not welcome trouble and hardship, but he tries to hold onto God when troubles come.

Do you feel your present sufferings are unjust? Do you find it difficult to believe that your present troubles may bring about something good in the end?

This song is called “We Live” and is sung by Superchicks. It talks about what you do in the midst of your worst tragedy. You. . . live–even when you don’t know how. -Lisa

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