Reflections on Hardship
“There is no success without hardship.”Sophocles
At one time or another, we all endure some time of hardship in our lives. I’m not hear to measure or compare hardships; I’m simply making an observation that from time to time life can seem really hard. I’m kind of in one of those seasons right now. Without going into detail, I feel like I have the weight of the world hanging on my shoulders. I wish I could simply snap my fingers and everything would be fixed, but it’s just not that easy. The hardship I’m enduring will take time to resolve.
Often, hardships take time to navigate and even slog through. Patience is required as we take one difficult step at a time.
When we find ourselves in times of hardship, I’ve found it helpful to do the following:
- Lean into God’s Word. God’s Word can provide hope and encouragement. I have found that in verses like Proverbs 3:5-6, James 1:2-4, and John 14:27. Look them up! God’s Word can also provide a reminder that we are not alone in our hardships. I have found the book of Psalms to be a tremendous blessing even in the Psalmists laments. God’s Word is a lamp and a light (Psalm 119:105) and will provide guidance and wisdom when times are tough.
- Lean into helpful friends and family. It’s easy to feel all alone when we face hardships. We often become so self-focused in times of hardship that we forget to ask for help or to accept help. This week I leaned into several friends who took time to listen and to pray. Helpful friends and family members will listen, pray, and lend a helping hand.
- Lean into God’s faithfulness. God has a record of being faithful. You can find this in the Bible, but you can also find this if you look back in your own experiences. How has God been faithful to you? Learning to process one to three reasons to be grateful each day is a healthy discipline whether your are experiencing hardship or not.
- Lean into professional help. Let’s face it, sometimes we need to go to the experts when we find ourselves in times of hardship – a therapist, a counselor, a doctor, a mechanic, etc. Asking for help can be really challenging, but it can also be the thing we need to accelerate us through the hardship we are currently experiencing. Help! is one of the most courageous words anyone can proclaim.
- Lean into a healthy vision of the future. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I have a hope that God will use my times of hardship to grow me closer to others, to draw me closer to Him, to stretch me personally, and to equip me to help others in the future. It’s easy to become hopeless when we face hardships of many kinds. We must fight this natural tendency and learn to put on a more positive outlook for the future.
I don’t know what hardships you may be facing in your life right now. I pray you’d find hope, peace, courage, and wisdom to persevere. If you are like me, you desire the easier, more comfortable road. Perhaps, God’s working through the junk in our lives for a better purpose, a bright future. We may not understand fully the reasons for our hardship, but we do have a God who can work through and redeem the tough times in our lives.