This is hard.
I bet I think those words about 12 times a day. Sometimes it’s about The Big Stuff like running Mercy House where we sometimes have to make life or death decisions. And sometimes I mutter it on the little hard things like when my one of my kids steps in dog poop and tracks it from one end of the car to the other. I may have actually said out loud this week, “Do you think poop can be spiritual warfare?” Because yeah, between the cat getting sick and the dog eating a sock and yes, getting sick, plus the car incident, it’s been pretty stinky around here.
I hear this is hard often at our house–regarding Physics and Pre-cal, 4th grade girl drama, chores they don’t want to do, walking a 65 pound willful dog and cleaning up the kitchen. But sometimes it’s what my kids aren’t saying–the temptations they are trying to resist, the fear they are trying to overcome– these hard things speak loudest of all.
When we look up from our own hard things, we get a little perspective. Right now, I have more friends than I can count going through difficult challenges in their marriages or heartbreaking divorces and frightening diagnoses. And I have witnessed firsthand hard things that people face in other countries and it reminds me just how easy some of my hard things really are. It’s in this place I’ve discovered we rise by lifting others.
It’s weird how all the daily hard stuff (scrubbing dog poop from upholstery and carpet) looks completely different when we face The Hard Stuff (life-altering challenges) that change who we are. But I still find myself on a smelly day thinking, this is hard because perspective is difficult to hang onto.
Everybody has hard stuff in their lives. But we all know hard things aren’t created equal. Some people’s lives are peppered with difficulties and challenges and some are buried under an avalanche of hard things. Hard things don’t respect who you are or what you’ve done. They don’t honor what you’ve given or given up. Hard things come into every life.
And sometimes it feels like we are carrying around the weight of the world. But God allows difficulties into our lives for a reason.
God has allowed hard things in your life so you can show the world that your God is great and that knowing Him brings peace and joy, even when life is hard.” -Francis Chan
We face the hard things–some easier than others–so that we can show the world that Even If and Even When –God is still good. Knowing him is enough, even when life is really hard. Because in knowing Jesus, He brings peace in the middle of the storm. He brings comfort in the depth of our grief. He holds together when are falling apart.
We cling to John 16:33 “…in me you may have peace..In the world you will have hard things, but take heart; I have overcome the world.”
I don’t know what you’re facing today…little hard things that are stinking up your life or The Hard Stuff that is knocking the very breath out of you. But God knows what you’re facing–and He allows it–not because you can handle it, but because He can.
So, whether your stuff is mini or mega, the size of a molehill or a mountain, your hard things are moving you closer to God. And the bottom is the perfect place to look up.
Hang on. Hold on. He is here.
In the middle of your very hard thing.