When we face suffering, there is always a deeper meaning to it than we realize or can see aft the moment. We go through uncomfortable or downright brutal things and there is a deeper meaning for it, whether it be a test of character (an opportunity to shine and show what you are made of), a building of character (somewhere you need molding to improve and get better), a spiritual reason (preparation for helping others who are going or have gone through that same thing and need help out), or someone was just a jerk and you have to practice forgiveness. There is always something deeper going on. The key is to know that and trust God to reveal which it is in due time. God knows everything and can help get you through quicker as soon as you are humble and ask Him, being available for and ready for His help, acknowledging Him as the greatest Power here, which is an act of worship. Worship has also a deeper meaning then too. Worship focuses our attention of the powerful and very loving God who incredibly puts Himself available to us for a relationship. He is our Heavenly Father, the perfect One. The quicker we ask Him for help and be humble, the quicker we are through and on to better things, like His blessings that always come to us on the other side.
Without struggles in our lives, we can not know ourselves and what we are really like, how we handle pressure, what we need to work on, how we learn, our pride level, so many things. If we only possess a perfect life in which no conflict was present, for one it would be dreadfully boring and two, we would never have the opportunity to know or improve ourselves beyond the extent of the mirror looking at the outer shell of ourselves. To truly know ourselves and what we are capable of and what we need work on, how can we grow wiser, learn, challenge ourselves, learn to lead, etc.? And without knowing ourselves deeper, how do we know God deeper, whose fingerprint is below the seen, in the soul and not on the seen shell? Not that we are God but that He reveals Himself in us in our inner soul when we worship and follow Him. Every great novel has an antagonist and a crisis. Some have several. Would it be worth the read without it?
When life gets really rough, it is like trees are falling all around you suddenly and without much warning. They might even fall on a part of you. This is happening more and more, dark things, messed up times. And it is so important to get really good at sharpening your ax. I mean, you have to prepare your tools for the job of forging through and making the problems smaller to dispose of them and use them to benefit you like burning them for heat or to cook with. How do we sharpen our axes? We humbly pray and read our Bible. A lot. When we pray and read our Bibles and even memorize key verses, we are allowing our axes to be sharpened. We are preparing to cut our problems down to size with the proper means. All these problems are spiritual battles, attacks from the enemy to harm us. But God is better and bigger and loves us so He can minimize problems and use them to improve us or become good now or later for us. It is amazing what God can do. We just have to do our part.
When bad things happen, I am no longer surprised. I see them as learning or purification tools. They are valuable tools to grow and improve with. But I have a new habit of late. I consider it my holiness corner. When hit again with a new pain or a rerun of an old one, I no sit in my little corner of my bedroom in my comfy chair and pray, asking God what I need to learn. He has brought my maturity to a point where I know that every problem, every hardship, trial, pain, and even fabulous experience is an opportunity from Him to be more holy and grow and always appreciate Him more. A time ago I did not have such maturity and was really really raw. But God used that rawness to show me His healing salve is sufficient. He was saving me from separation from Himself. He gets our attention and brings us back to Himself because of His love for us. He knows pain is temporary and humbles us to listen and learn and then He heals and restores to greater than before and prayer is the vehicle for that exchange. It is beautiful. It is proactive work for our long term eternal benefit and I am truly honored to be humbled. Feeding my dad a cupcake today on his 80th Birthday, as dementia and stories have robbed him of himself, I was humbled and honored. My Heavenly Father is taking over as my earthly father also, filling both rolls. It is beautiful.
Excerpt from my daily devotional Inspirational Thoughts for Mothers:
“There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still. -Corrie Tin Boom
” To give thanks to Him for all things is indeed very difficult… For it includes giving thanks for trials of all kinds, for suffering and pain, for weariness, for the crossing of our wills, for contradiction, for reproaches, for loneliness, for privations. Yet they who have learned submission will… Hereafter see all the links of the chain, and how wonderfully even those have fitted which at the time seemed to have no adaptation… This belief enables them to praise Him and give thanks now for each thing, assured that the God of love will do all things well. -Priscilla Maurice
“Trust in the dark bri GS triumph at dawn. – Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
” When I cannot understand my Father’s leading, and it seems to be but hard and cruel fate, still I hear that gentle whisper ever pleading, Boris working, God is faithful… Only wait.
“So, if your every human plan and calculation has miscarried, if, one by one, human props have been knocked out, and doors have shut in your face, take heart. God is trying to get a message through to you, and the message is: ‘Stop depending on inadequate human resources. Let Me ha for the matter.’ – Catherine Marshall
There are some experiences in life that can very quickly humble you low. These bring you down a notch or two and sometimes more. Things like living through war, abuse, trauma, breakups, divorce, bad marriage fit, loss of a loved one, loss of a valued pet, loving more than you are loved, or something as simple as slipping too heavily into a movie. Whatever your selection, it generally involves some level of pain, sometimes deep, sometimes less so. And it leaves the feeler of the pain empty, demoralized, low, hurting, pained, lost. You see, pain often brings at least momentary humbleness. And these immense burdens are difficult to bear but may be used as lessons. That same experience can either make or break you. Being humble is preparing your life for the next thing, preparing the person to either accept the lesson and learn from it and make better decisions next time and acknowledge God in your life or the opposite, becoming more self focused, feeling drained, being permanently damaged, blaming God, etc. And you know only one tiny thing lies between those two options. Your decision. You set your mind and heart to whichever you desire. It reveals your inner heart, it shows your true self and desires, it exposes you. There is a great scene in Lion King where the lion is talking to the monkey about his pain. The monkey hits him and talks to him. Then he tries to hit him again and the lion ducks. And the monkey said you can run from it or you can learn from it. We will gravitate toward what is easiest- hide, protect, run, blame, cover up, retreat, self medicate to feel better again. But you can never go back to how you were before entirely. That is not how it works. You have to pull together all the courage you can muster and remember the truth of the Bible you read and memorized and pray and get back up again, moving forward wiser and with a new tool you can use when you need it. You can only be more equipped to survive something big if you survive something little first. It builds self confidence or self hate, depending on your decision. One feeds the soul and matures the individual, while the other not only prevents growth and wisdom but removes some of what you had. Being humbled is a good thing. I have come to embrace it as much as I once detested it. It is a way to growth and freedom. There is always a price to be paid to learn but learning is always worth that price.
The hardest thing about life is not the obstacles. They are difficult, no doubt, but are not the hardest thing. Negativity is excrutiating also and very very hard but not the hardest thing. Death and losing people for different reasons is painful and horrible and very very very hard but still not the hardest thing. The hardest thing of all, in my opinion, is doing all that without love to couteract all those things. The greatest love is God of course. But we need each other too. We need people we love to have our back. With the right support system, everything on the planet is doable. With love, everything is easier to bear, easier to go through, less hard. Love is a light and when it is present, the darkness fades. To do life, especially now when things are not what they once were, without at least one person who loves you is the hardest thing. Anything can do you in. It is just that rough out there. So the key to getting through the ugliest of circumstances and hardest of situations and environments is to be sure you invest in someone you can love that loves you. Quality of love and investment is the key. For some people it is family, a spouse, a good friend, a dog, a cat (who are we kidding, that is imagined- lol), whatever, just be sure it is somebody. Life was never meant to be done alone. It is worth everything to hang on to love. It can and will carry you through the really rough stuff that is bound to come if you’re not knee deep in it now as I am and so many I know are. God will give you wisdom to find that one or two people or more if you are really blessed as I am. But pray they will be close enough to reach you with their arms, my biggest problem. Reach out for love. Cherish it. It is the hardest thing in the world to be without it through good or especially bad times. Love rules.