Walking The Hard Path

Yesterday I was sitting around my kitchen table sharing a meal with some women who have gone through some pretty difficult situations over the last year or so.  I was encouraged to hear their thoughts on the various struggles because I’d been thinking a lot lately about what it means to deal with difficult circumstances in our lives.

Sometimes we find ourselves in the midst of difficulties that are no fault of our own.

Other times we may find ourselves in the middle of a hard situation and dealing with consequences that are a direct result of some bone headed decision we made. Or maybe not boneheaded  but still we find ourselves on a difficult path because we made choices, right ones even, that put us there.

What I’ve been thinking about is regardless of how we end up in that hard minute, the way we walk through it is what matters. The way we think and talk about the hard situation reveals what is truly inside of us.

If it is a constant complaining or venting of frustration then it is easy to see that we are filled with discontentment. If, no matter how many kindnesses are shown us, we can still only see how hard everything is, then we are quite possibly missing a lesson in learning to bear burdens with grace and dignity. It is quite easy to find ourselves throwing a rousing pity party and trying to get everyone we talk to to dance with us by playing our sad, sad song.

The hand of God and what flows from it to us is sometimes a thing not easily grasped. We are not a people to suffer well and those around us who do so are either somehow more spiritual than us (which we can easily resent) or they just don’t have it as bad as we do, which allows us to be even more of a victim.

But Scripture tells us that we are to handle adversity in a different way…one contrary to our nature. God calls us to rejoice in our sufferings because it will produce something in us.

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings,
 knowing that suffering produces endurance, 
and endurance produces character, 
and character produces hope, 
and hope does not put us to shame, 
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5
That’s a pretty amazing list of things that will result from our suffering if we are willing to suffer with gladness. And if what it will produce in us isn’t beautiful enough just look at what we avoid when we rejoice in our suffering…we are not put to shame.
It would seem that our way of bearing burdens and walking through our hard minutes has some pretty serious results in our lives. May we walk worthy of the One who has called us no matter how hard the path or how we got there.

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