Thrive in Hard Times
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
My dad was full of these motivational one-liners. He grew up in the “Dirty 30s,” the Great Depression. He knew what it was like to work hard for everything you got. No welfare state. No charity hand-outs. Earning a living with your two bare hands. Scrimping and scraping to get by, one day at a time.
One day my grandparents told him they could not afford to keep him in school. He was forced to drop out and find a job. At the age of 13. I asked my dad how much he made at his first job. “Ten cents an hour,” he replied. I loved listening to my dad’s stories about growing up in hard times. All the incredible experiences he had and how hard times shaped my dad into who he was.
We go through hard times with the Lord; indeed, we learn to thrive in hard times.
It makes no sense. God loves us dearly. We are the apple of His eye. He should spoil us every minute with His grace and mercy and bless us with an easy life. He should keep us in school forever and never force us out into the world to sweat and get our hands dirty.
But the Lord does it differently. He puts us in situations that push us to the limit. Where we stare defeat in the eyes and feel its hot breath on our neck. A heartbeat away from abandoning God as we feel He has abandoned us.
Over time – if we stay faithful, obedient and walk in the spirit – we discover why we are here. The Lord drops us into a minefield full of set-backs, defeats and rare opportunities to see how we react. We slip and fall, get angry and frustrated, and when we hit rock bottom we reach up and shout in surrender,
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. (Psalm 22:2)
We thrive in hard times with God. The Lord changes our hearts and we grow in spirit. The bad is removed and the good is imparted. He builds us up in Christ. Makes us strong, righteous and holy. Teaches us discernment, patience, perseverance, discipline, wisdom and knowledge and so many other wonderful gifts. We learn the value of love, fellowship and cooperation, and realize
…that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)
I know. It’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves in hard times. We look around and see selfish, greedy and downright mean people who are rich, successful, happy and everything seems to be going “tickety-boo” while we struggle daily and wonder out loud what the future will bring.
I am learning to thrive in my hard times – my quest to become a writer. Most days make no sense. I work hard, learn the craft, try new things, not knowing what the outcome will be. To be honest, the future does not look bright. The barriers are high, the competition fierce and the opportunities are so scarce it’s laughable.
But I push on. One step at a time. My eyes looking up toward Heaven, keeping the faith and accepting that I do not see or understand the plans He has for me.
One thing I understand in hard times is great change. I am not the person I once was. Salvation means continuous spiritual growth and development. I am blessed by the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. God teaches me valuable lessons about who He is, who I am and my purpose in this world. The Lord reveals talents and attributes I never thought I had. I learn to make quick decisions, adapt and thrive in situations where only a few years ago I would have panicked, turned and ran. A defeat today only means an opportunity to try again harder and wiser tomorrow.
Thrive in hard times. Watch the Lord push you to your limits and be amazed by your response. Stand in awe and wonder over how much you have changed and who you are as a loved, blessed and treasured son or daughter of the Almighty Lord.Thrive in hard times with God...and reap His rewards Click To Tweet
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Copyright © 2017 L.M. Patrick, British Columbia