When life gets hard, I just want to go inward. I want to build up a thick wall and hide. I don’t want to talk to people, I don’t want to grow relationships, I don’t want to give of myself or my time or my money. I don’t want to serve others, my husband or my children. My walls get thick and my face is hard against anyone who dares try and enter the soft spots of my heart.
I’m deceived into thinking that this is protecting me against more hurt, more pain, or more difficulty. If I hide enough then no more can happen. I can control it. I can better my own destiny… or so I think.
I’m discouraged in thinking my war is hard and I steep in self pity, I allow anger, I get bitter, I expect service, I demand love when I’m unloving in return. My heart is hard.
The Psalmist writes: “He is not afraid of bad news” (Psalm 112:7).
And Solomon says in Proverbs 31, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”
I act this way in fear. Fear of what else might happen. I see so much suffering in those around me and in my own home. I sorrow for what has come upon our family and I weep as other mothers see the suffering and severe illness of their own children.
How can anyone laugh at the days to come?
We think of one day, maybe, trying to have another baby. But how can that be laughable? Fear grips my heart. Sorrow pours from my soul just thinking about it.
We have never been promised an easy life. I know this. But looking back my life has been easy. As my grandparents say, “Growing old is hard work. It isn’t for the faint of heart.” I’m not even that old… but the older I get the harder life gets. But knowing I’m not the only one that thinks this walk is hard, encourages me. There are many who have gone before and who have struggled and suffered MUCH more than I.
Jesus suffered much, for me. In three days he rose. Even as I walk through a difficult soul searching time, Sunday is coming. The world we were originally created for, with no sin, is coming. Jesus paid that price and now I do have hope past this hard life. Now isn’t promised to be easy, but our rest is yet to come, and a glorious rest it will be.
I cannot go inward. I need to go upward and from there I will go outward. To bring our Lord glory is our aim. No matter what comes our way, may He receive the glory, for He is worthy.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. I Peter 5:6-11
Growing hard and bitter is exactly what our adversary the devil wants. He tries to encourage that response. By turning inward I am turning my back on God and His truths and Satan is able to gain more and more control of my life, my thoughts and my actions. It’s a slippery slope that I don’t want to slide into. I want to chose God, chose joy, chose praise, chose thankfulness.
I need humility, soul softness, an openness to what God says to me through His word. Aren’t those verses like armor in war? Like the Captain inspiring for us a difficult battle? These verses bring me peace and encouragement to stand up, and journey on. To not give up or give in or try to build up my own personal fortress, but to trust Him. Trust His provision, trust His care, trust His faithfulness, trust His love specifically for me. I’m not forgotten. He is with me.
Knowing the God of the universe is with little ole me and actually cares about each part of me is mind blowing. As people we like to be known and appreciated as an individual.
God does exactly that.