Monday, May 30, 2016

The Point of Hardship Is What It Points To

God uses challenges and hardships for our refining,
But we must first look for the dark cloud’s silver lining.
There is always something to see in the dilemma at hand, if only we’re curious enough to seek God for the knowledge of it.  The trouble is we often respond very emotionally when we’re blindsided by situations and thoughts we didn’t anticipate.  We panic.  But, if we hold that moment, asking God to show us something new, He will.
Yes, He will.
The point of hardship is the learning within the situation itself, not the pain, though the pain will drive us to learn.
The time in the hardship that’s hardest is the in-between wrestling-with-conscious-pain time.  Most of us experience this sort of hardship weekly or at least monthly, and yet there are entire seasons where we wear hardship as a kind of parasite; the hourly task.
If we’re open to the fact, by faith, that God uses challenges and hardships for our refining, we complete the transaction, by becoming aware of this fact’s power, by simply looking for silver lining in this particular loathsome cloud.  It’s there alright!
God will always show us something new if we’re curious enough.  And that new thing will make the hardship tolerable, and in that we’re refined, and taught how to live as a disciple of Christ who can willingly bear and carry their cross.  And, be aware, the new thing of God is not something we could learn anywhere else, and don’t expect others to understand.  It’s between us and God.
The point of hardship is discovery; to learn how a setback can be turned into a comeback.
What about pain?  The point of pain is never the pain itself, but what the pain causes us to do.  Pain causes us to look deeper, to canvass wider, and to search longer, so our perspective becomes broader.
The point of hardship is it forces us to become curious, if we’re courageous enough to be open.  We only get curious if we don’t otherwise become cynical or compromise to cowardice.
With curiosity we’re able to see more readily the blessings right before our eyes.
Ultimately hardship points us to God, for the point of God, in pain, is He enters our hardship by the intimacy of example.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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