Practically no one likes things that are hard to do, we tend to like the easy way out. After all, why would you do something difficult when you don’t have to, right? It’s like choosing between going to the gym to get that summer body or opting for that expensive miracle smoothie that promises to slim you down in just one week. Although going to the gym is not always fun, it does eventually shape you. Yes, you will have to work hard, sweat, feel some muscle pains and soreness, but in the end it’s all worth it because of the results. This same process can be linked to hardships.
Hardships have been around since the beginning of time. And, at some point in life, everyone will deal with at least one hardship of their own. A hardship is a period of suffering, a lack of comfort, stress, and more, that can occur at any given moment in any area of life. Even though there are different types of hardships, they all have the same process. It starts with a challenge, a problem, then continues into a period of figuring out how to overcome this challenge, and ends with victory if you allow it. Hardships tend to hit you hard at moments you least expect it. You’re living life, everything is going great, and then all of a sudden – BOOM! Hardship. This year started out great for me. I had bought my beloved Passion Planner (great agenda) and wrote down all my goals for the coming year. I was so prepared and nothing was going to stop me. I felt good, slept well, ate better, just everything! And then BOOM! Literally… my car got hit by a tractor. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, it also got stressful at work, I got terribly sick, and I was involved in so many personal projects that I started to struggle with how to manage them all.My challenge here was to get my life back on track again. You can imagine that dealing with this challenge could cause a person to stress out and to get depressed or worn out. Well, that almost happened. I did get stressed out and felt like everything just wasn’t going well anymore. Depression wanted to kick in, but I was like ‘Nah, we’re not doing this.’ See, I refuse to let dark thoughts get to me. When we allow our thoughts and the things of life to weigh us down, we will indeed be down. But when we deliberately talk ourselves out if it, these thoughts won’t have any power over us. This does not take away that those thoughts will linger and come back during the period of figuring things out. During this period, it is important to keep in mind that this hardship won’t last forever. It will be over some day. Remember the story of Job? Job lost almost everything he had (Job 1:13-22), but it did not last his whole life. This same goes for me, for you, for anyone dealing with hardship. Someday it will be over, but we must be careful not to complain too much. I’ll admit that I don’t always follow this rule, but it’s actually slowing down the hardship process and making it longer than it should be. When we complain, we’re not focused on winning the challenge, we’re focused on our misery. Of course, stress and multiple things will cause us to complain. But let’s be like David here and let’s strengthen ourselves in the Lord. “Now David was greatly distressed for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved … But David strengthened himself in the Lord.” (1 Samuel 30:6, NKJV)
We have to face our hardships with God on our side. He’s the expert on winning the victory, so He can help us through. This is where the last phase of the process takes place: victory. A challenge is meant to be won. Once we go through it and come out of it, we will be better people than we were before; the hardship will shape us. “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” (Romans 5:3-4, NLT) I am not at the victory stage yet, but I’m believing in God that He will show me how to get there and become a champ!
Never forget this: you will only face challenges God knows you can handle and overcome. He’ll go through the whole process with you. Rest assured. And when you overcome, share your testimony with others who may be going through a hardship, so they’ll know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.