I have been feeling the effects of multiple hardships this week (some small and some large) and this morning came across these two verses that tugged on my heart and reminded my soul of God's fresh perspective and purpose.
"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons...No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." -Hebrews 12:7 & 11
Hardship as discipline. I feel like I can sometimes see that and other times am blind to it. I feel as though sometimes (like lately) I just get tired of it. I'm tired of the waiting. I'm tired of taking the dogs down stairs to go outside to the bathroom. I'm tired of worrying about finances. I'm tired of lots of things. And then I come across verses like this that remind me there is a purpose behind each and every little situation that crosses my path. It's not simply random. There is a reason God is allowing me this hardship to grow me and strengthen me. It is for good and not bad. It all comes back to trust. Am I trusting that God is in control of even the smallest annoyances in my life?
When I trust, it brings such a peace to me and wipes out the familiar feeling of irritation and bitterness. Bitterness. Such a common companion to hardship. I notice it creep in especially at times like these where everything in life seems like a hardship. Whether it is bitterness at a driver on the road, someone who has something I wish I had, or at anyone or anything else (yes sometimes I feel bitter at those stairs!), it makes things worse. It can become all consuming and it spreads like wildfire. It is like tying a bow on top of the package of hardship to keep it sealed right inside of us. Then it festers and grows.
But when I am able to trust God in these hardships and see a purpose behind them, then there is no room for bitterness. I have no one (or no thing) to be bitter at when I am trusting there is a reason and a lesson to glean from my hardship. It's difficult. It's called a HARDship for a reason. It tests us and refines us. No matter what the hardship, we all have our different ones. They are all hard to us individually and no one can say that one person's is worse than another's because they can't possibly know. Each hardship is specific to each person and can help us grow and blossom into the person God has created us to be if we let it. There is a reason and a point to all of it, even as difficult as it is while we are in it. God can (and will) use the difficult to turn things beautiful. Let's choose to let those hardships change us for good and not bad!
"See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." -Hebrews 12:15