Sometimes life is tough.
Here are some truths from the Bible that keep me going when ol’ smutty face is trying to gain the upper hand:
1. Pain is not forever.
And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed… (Genesis 41:1)
Joseph was in prison for two full years after he had interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s butler and baker. Before that, he was a slave, having been sold by his brothers. But his suffering did not last forever. It “came to pass.”
Whether my pain is caused by grief, illness, loss, boredom, betrayal, loneliness, or something else, it’s all just part of the journey of becoming who God made me to be.
Even abuse — past or present — does not last forever. If you are in an abusive situation, get out. You are smarter and stronger than you think. And God’s heart is to deliver you.
God does not cause abuse. Sin causes abuse. Yet God can use even those things that cause us the greatest pain to later be a testament to His power in us, and an encouragement to others.
Never give up on life.
It might be crazy-hard right now. But it won’t always be this way.
Keep going through, because you never know when God’s happy surprise is just around the corner.
2. Suffering always has a greater purpose.
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (Genesis 50:20)
Joseph was blessed with hindsight that gave meaning to his suffering. You and I will rarely experience this. More likely, we must choose to believe that all things to work together for good, that God really is sovereign, that Jesus really does care.
A friend told my husband this true story:
Every Christmas the clan would gather at Grandma and Grandpa’s farmhouse for a huge holiday celebration.
That is, until the year that a precious granddaughter was killed in a car accident as she drove home from college. It was Christmas Eve, and what should’ve been the happiest night of the year was shattered in an instant.
Instead of feasting, laughter, and celebration, there were police reports, insurance paperwork, and funeral plans.
The next year the grandparents said they could not bear to spend Christmas at home. They were still healing.
They took a cruise so they wouldn’t even have to be home for the holidays. All the other families stayed home. And on Christmas Eve, a year to the day after the loss of their granddaughter, there was an explosion. A basement furnace went up in a ball of fire that consumed the house and everything they owned.
Wait, not everything. For had it not been for the previous year’s tragedy, the whole clan would’ve been gathered in that place. Over 50 people would’ve lost their lives.
Friend, this life is a vapor. Pain in the here and now is barely a blip on the screen of eternity. Peace comes not by understanding, but by accepting these difficulties as allowed by a loving heavenly Father.
God gave His Son for you and me, and we can trust Him.
Your suffering is never in vain.
3. Jesus specializes in reviving dead things.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)
What’s dead in your life? Dreams of…
- losing weight?
- loving and being loved?
- writing a book?
- recording your music?
- rekindling romance?
- restoring a relationship?
- rebuilding trust?
- conquering an addiction?
- starting a business?
- paying off debt?
- running a 5K?
God never promised an easy life. But He did promise His presence, power and peace.
You can do right, you can learn new skills, you can love even those who have deeply wounded you. And you can rest in knowing at the end of it all, Jesus wins.
4. We can do whatever it is we’re supposed to do.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
The power to do whatever scary or hard thing you keep putting off? That power is yours.
I know it’s hard.
I know your big feelings are screaming “I can’t!”
Change your perspective on your feelings, Sis. See them as demanding toddlers in a nursery, and you are the logical governess, unmoved by their tantrums.
You can do that thing God has for you. You just have to take the next step.
- Create that new schedule.
- Train your children in that new habit.
- Write that book.
- Start that blog.
If you need more motivation, review my summary of Fear is Not the Boss of You.
5. God will bring our work to maturity.
The LORD will perfect [that which] concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, [endureth] for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. (Psalm 138:8)
Adopting good habits is hard.
Building a business is hard.
Creating a strong family is hard.
But the same One who gave the desire for these good things is the One who will empower me to do them as I rely on His strength, not mine.
In the end, we don’t need some magic formula for success or a new Fitbit. We need to bring out thoughts into obedience to the Word of God. Eliminate the negative, and choose truth.
God didn’t leave you on this earth to keep the couch warm. He has plans for each of us, and those plans are wonderful. Even if life kinda stinks at the moment.
I can’t help but think of my friend who lost her husband of 36 years the same week our world shut down due to Coronavirus. “Stinks” doesn’t begin to describe it. Yet how she inspires me with her courage and resolve to navigate this new normal.
You know what? You can do that.
Let your courage and resolve inspire others, too.
You don’t know who’s watching, and you may never see the big picture this side of heaven.
Just remind yourself today and every day:
- Pain is not forever
- Suffering always has a greater purpose
- Jesus specializes in reviving dead things
- We can do whatever it is we’re supposed to do
- God will bring our work to maturity
It’s too early to quit. So keep reaching for the stars and “I’ll see you at the top” (thanks, Zig Ziglar!)