Friday, July 23, 2010

Hard Place

Are you in a hard place?
Is there pain?
Is there difficulty?

I have been down some hard, painful and difficult paths. In those journeys I have learned that God put me in those places for a reason, and I had a choice of two attitudes with which to respond.

Unfortunately my first response to hardship is generally to fight God over it.
But how can I fight against an all powerful God?
I can try to move myself, but how can I run from God?
I can try to change things to make them like I want, but how can I change the mind of God?
I can make a different reality by escaping into a bottle, or a book, or the computer, or television, or any number of other things, but I only become a slave to those addictions.
I can try to control everything, but that is just banging my head against a wall.

I have to say that my experience fighting God has led me to the conclusion that it just doesn’t work.
No matter what I do, I can’t escape the misery. When hard things happen my only other choice is to embrace this difficulty as part of God’s plan. As hard as it is to accept, I am exactly where God wants me, and where He has put me.

So I look at my problem.
Did my own sin or bad decisions cause this difficulty? Then I must grieve and repent and go do what is right. I must read, study and meditate on scripture, and pray and seek godly council so I can know and do what is right.

Did someone else’s sin cause my pain? That hurts, but I must still do what is right; forgiveness is required in this situation. Again, I must read, study and meditate on scripture, and pray and seek godly council so I will know and do what is right, no matter what anyone else does.

Did circumstances just come together to cause my hardship? Then I must embrace this as God’s plan for this moment, and ask Him how I can glorify Him in this place. I must ask Him to teach me and to draw me close to Him. I must ask Him to reveal Himself to me, and ask Him to glorify Himself in me. Once again, it comes to reading, studying and meditating on scripture, and praying and seeking godly council so I will be able to know and do what is right, no matter what my circumstances are.

My bad circumstances may or may not change at all. Sometimes they even get worse. But my misery will change. Somewhere in the midst of whatever my problems are, no matter how severe, I find God’s presence, and with Him come peace and joy. In the place of God’s presence, I find that not only can I accept the hardship, but I can thank God for it. It is worth any pain, any difficulty, any hardship, to know God this way.

There will always be difficult circumstances in this life, and we will always sin and make mistakes. The question is not, “when will God fix this for me?” or “why won’t God fix this for me?” Rather, the question must be “How can God glorify Himself in me in this situation, and what does He want me to do now?”

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


©Rebecca A Givens, 07/19/10
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