What Tough Times Tell

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (Romans 8:28-29)

Isn’t it curious that tough times come at the most inconvenient moments in life? Truthfully, tough times are never welcomed with open arms at anyone’s door. Never have I met one who has joyfully said, “I just look forward to going through difficult seasons. In fact, I live for them!” Tough times do find their way into both cracks in our foundations and weather-stripping on our front doors. Like it or not, tough times do come. There is no way around that, as long as we are in the human condition.

Now, for the good news! Regardless of how difficult the challenge and long the process, there are some positive things which are revealed to us through the middle of the maze. We learn how precious life is, while at the same time just how fragile life really is. At one moment, you are healthy and secure and in the next, you may find yourself fighting for your next breath. It’s called the human condition. No wonder the Scriptures describe our lives like grass. We are here on this planet for such a short time. During those few days, we must always remain in the posture of gratefulness to God for every moment of free breathing.

In those difficult seasons when we are looking for the good to arise in the midst of sorrow, we discover who our real friends are, don’t we? That’s one of the great things about tough times…it squeezes out the fair-weather friends and mere acquaintances.  But most of all, tough times show us just how faithful our God is to see us through it all. Our lives matter to Him, and He has a purpose in allowing those disturbances to arise in our lives. Through the difficult challenges, He removes those fragments in our lives which do not look like the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. And sometimes, well alright, every time, that involves pain. We do not conform easily. Our flesh is rooted deeply within our very fabric, and that fabric must be re-shaped for His glory.

There is nothing but hope here! God’s purpose is clear, but His path for us sometimes involves invitations to dark places and processes. Don’t be afraid if you are walking there today, because you are not alone. The Protector of your soul is there in the fire with you. You will pass through…make no doubt about that. You and I are projects in the making and Jesus is not through with us yet! Press on!

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