(Originally published 8/22/13)
Here is another interesting take on hard times; it could be that the trials and tribulations in your life are actually answers to prayers.
I was driving to work not too long ago, mulling over how difficult life was and questioning God. ‘Lord, if I’m really walking according to Your will, then why are You making things so difficult for me?’ His answer, ‘Because you asked Me to strengthen your faith.’
It was a very big ‘duh’ moment for me, let me tell you. I have this tendency to think that since things like patience, faith, and character are good things to have, God will be so thrilled I asked that He will just wave a magic wand and zap me with supernatural doses of each. But while God has already given me everything I need to live a Godly life, I still need to practice using these gifts before I become proficient.
The tools God equips us with are like any other tools. The laptop I’m typing on right now is incredibly powerful and it came fully equipped with all the latest technology. But that doesn’t mean I was able to sit down and instantly be able to type 100 words a minute. I have the capacity to do so, as does my computer, but first I have to master the skill. Trusting God and waiting on Him works the same way. We need to exercise our faith muscles and practice the skills necessary to trust Him fully.
This is why patience and grace for ourselves is so crucial. It’s not an overnight fix. A close and intimate walk with God takes work and perseverance, especially when it’s hard and we don’t want to. As my dear husband says, “You can only build character when you don’t want to.”
Furthermore, we do not know God’s plan for us. I frequently watch two little boys and sometimes they are convinced that I am out to make their lives miserable. But the truth of the matter is that I love them and I know that candy at 7am in not healthy for them, so I say no. They may think I’m trying to punish them by not taking them to the park, but in fact their dad is coming over to surprise them and if we leave the house we’ll miss him. I also cruelly take away the scissors when they start running with them. I know a lot of things the 4yr old and the 2yr old don’t, therefore I’m far more capable of making the best choices for them. God knows even more than I do, hard as that may be for me to believe sometimes. He is all knowing and all powerful and everything is happening according to His good pleasure.
I might get upset that He is taking things away or withholding things from me, but really, He knows what He’s doing and He’s doing it because He loves me. Laura Story sings a beautiful song about this called ‘Blessings‘ and if you have a few minutes I highly recommend it.
All this to say, if you are going through a storm in your life, hang in there. The bad things that are happening in your life could be very good signs. It’s not the end of the world – however much to may feel like it – because God is on the throne and He does hold your life in His hands. He is molding you to be more like Him and He is fully planning on giving your beauty from ashes. He DOES have a wonderful plan for your life (Jer. 29:11) and He IS preparing a place for you (John 14:3). Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love. 1 Cor. 16: 13-14