Dec 27, 2011

The Beauty of Hard Times

Hardships.         We dread them. And yet, we cannot hope to become anything without them.  I think the Lord takes His beloved through hard times so that our message is always fresh...

You know what it is to be the one going through hard times and to see someone who is delighting in all the successes life can offer. Their sympathy can only feel like pity, their words tend to be hollow and empty of real comfort, and the contrast of their happiness makes our sorrow hard to bear. It is difficult for those in the valley to accept comfort from those on the mountaintop. It is hard for those on the mountaintop to remember what it was like to be in the valley, or to stop and ponder those still there. We are finite beings, so prone to become desensitized to the lessons of the past. So, the Lord, for the sake of our ability to minister to each other, allows us to reenter the valley every so often, lest we forget.  It is not punishment, it is a part of the maturing process. It is His mercy keeping us sharp and useful for His work.

You see, it is quite different for a sufferer to see one with them in the valley who, though suffering, overflows with joy and wisdom. Here is a counselor they can rely on. Here is a true friend in time of need. Here is one who can give a "word in season to the weary".  

In our affliction our comfort is softer and more merciful than if we never faced wounding, trial, or temptation. Our words are clearer. Our message rings truer. Our example is easily followed. Our humility in realizing our own weakness draws and will not repel. In our own dependence on God we tap into a power source that flows through us to all who come for help.

In my times of trial I have looked to other people who have faced and learned to rejoice through trials. People like Joseph and David in the Bible, or more modern heroes like Amy Carmichael and Elisabeth Elliot have become my own "mentors". Their stories, written in their suffering for my encouragement, have given me courage to endure. And they, in the middle of their trials, realized their purpose.

There is nothing more beautiful than watching one who, in their own suffering, overlooks their circumstance to reach a hand to another in need. This is the love of Christ. This will change the world.


Mariya said...

I loved this article that you wrote. and I always love reading your other ones too. Keep up that great work. :)

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