Hard times. Troubles. Challenges. Trials.
We hate those words.
Those words scare us.
No one in their heart of hearts ever desires to really go through them.
No matter your age, gender, nationality or wealth you get to experience them multiple times throughout your life.
Sometimes we deal with multiple challenges and trials at the same time. I really hate that!
Like myself, you might be dealing with them right now.
What’s interesting is that as a society, despite the fact that we hate these struggles, challenges and trials we enjoy movies, books, TV shows, and music that tackle these words head on. For me, it’s always been movies that mean the most. It’s the medium I connect with and speaks to my heart and soul.
“Apollo 13” and “The Martian” are two movies that stand out amongst the crowd.
Apollo 13 is perhaps the most meaningful because it actually happened.
Here you have three men in space, and hundreds on Earth who have trained and prepared for what is to date still one of the most daunting voyages ever undertaken. The crew of Apollo 13 flung themselves into the cosmos, knowing there were so many things they couldn’t predict or anticipate. It required a huge level of faith.
Then so many things went wrong, none of which they were ever prepared for.
While it’s amazing that they overcame everything, what’s more amazing is their perseverance. They kept “working the problem” no matter how tired, hungry or afraid of death they were.
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be more mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4
That perseverance taught all of NASA, and the world not just how to solve those problems. It taught them how to deal with, or avoid future problems.
Perseverance isn’t easy. It’s the part we hate the most about our trials. We want to pray away, wish away, or pay away the problem. We just want it to go away, get our lesson and move on.
While that may work, it’s a band-aid. You aren’t taking care of the root issue and you aren’t really preparing for what’s coming down the line.
Your perseverance may be required for days, months or years. There may even be times where you think you’re done, but you’re really still in the middle of it. It’s the center of the storm, and you still have a dark, overwhelming journey ahead of you. That right there is so scary to realize and accept. It gives me chills just writing it.
Even scarier is that you may have to deal with something that requires perseverance for the rest of your life. That’s really hard to admit and write.
Being out of work for the last 4 months after 16 years straight of employment, I have struggled with perseverance every single day.
Getting out of bed realizing I still don’t have a job. Trying to find a job. Trying to get interviews. Trying to not let the disappointment crawl into my head and affect my moods, or impact the people around me. I want to snap my fingers and make it all go away, I want God to make a job immediately appear.
Some might say “If God loves you so much, then why doesn’t He make it all better?”.
Could He? Yup.
Do I wish He would? Every day.
God is not a vending machine.
God is not a genie.
God is not Amazon with next day delivery.
He wants to help us with our problems, but He’s not interested in immediately solving all of them. He wants us to learn perseverance. He wants us to put faith in Him at a level that some find a bit illogical. As the passage in James 1 continues…
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:5-8 NIV
I have learned that while I lean on Him for guidance, strength and wisdom He is refining me like a goldsmith. He is keeping me strong through the fires so that what comes out on the other end is an even stronger person.
“Then I will test those survivors by giving them many troubles. The troubles will be like the fire a person uses to prove silver is pure. I will test them the way a person tests gold. Then they will call to me for help, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘You are my people.’ And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” – Zechariah 13:9 ERV
What’s comforting is that He’s promised that if we stick through it. If we persevere. If we stay close to Him that HE WILL deliver us. HE WILL make life better. HE WILL prepare us for the next challenges that we encounter.
It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s frustrating.
He will NEVER forsake us and NEVER break a single promise.
While my trials aren’t over by far, I am stronger and getting stronger every day.
I know this because…
He’s brought me through the challenges of the past.
He’s bringing me through the challenges I’m going through now
He’s going to bring me through the challenges in the future.
It just requires perseverance and putting absolute FAITH and TRUST in Him.
In the end He will make us like a precious and strong metal with a value that can never be measured. We will then proudly proclaim Him as our great God. The provider of all providers. The father that loves and supports us 24-7, 365.
For those who are fighting the fight, or multiple fights. Know that you are not alone. Keep persevering. Keep praying. Know that He is in your corner. He is fighting for you. He is with you. Yes, even those that don’t believe in Him.
For those that have fought the fight, or are in a calm spot. Keep praising His name. Keep leaning on Him. Keep the perseverance alive. Help your fellow brother and sister through their fight. Remind them that they too will make it through. Remind them that they’ll be better than when they first started. Pray for and with them, especially those that haven’t given their life to Christ.
God has got this.
God has got you.