One sultry evening I pounded the pavement in my neighborhood on what turned out to be a tear-filled prayer walk. I sweated while thoughts of a devastating situation bombarded my mind; things had plunged from miserable to unbearable, and my weary heart cried out for relief. I felt fed-up and drained, and everything in me wanted to run away.
In a culture that demands ease, we are practically trained to disdain hardship of any kind. We shouldn't have to put up with certain people and situations, right? But what if we're in a hard spot, one we could escape, and God gently asks us to stay?
If you think God would never ask a person to remain in difficult circumstances, think again. God isn't as interested in rescuing us out of our circumstances as He is in allowing those circumstances to propel us more deeply into His arms...and change us into His image.
Whether we're enduring a hard marriage, a hard job, hard times with our kids, or a hard season in our finances, we will do well to remember:
God asks us to attempt the seemingly impossible to erase every illusion that we can do it ourselves. If we're wise, this causes us to move in close to God and lean entirely on Him. It's only through His strength that we can remain when we'd rather run.
Tough seasons cause us to grow in character--His character. What makes us think we can become Christ-like without suffering? Jesus was ridiculed, betrayed, rejected, and ultimately gave His life. "Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." - Romans 8:17
God uses hard spots to train us in perseverance. The prize doesn't go to the most talented, but to the one who hangs in there the longest. We're prone to quitting, but "Better is the end of the thing than the beginning of it." - Ecclesiastes 7:8a
God is present and at work in our most painful moments. I love that God counts my tears. That means He is with me every time I hurt, understanding and loving me. And ultimately, He works out every situation for our good (See Romans 8:28).
The good news is God eventually intervened in my situation...in His timing and in His way. And things turned out far better than I ever dreamed.
The next time you're tempted to run away, remember that God can work in your situation in ways you never imagined. If you trust God and hang in there, you will come out on the other side strengthened, filled with wisdom and faith, and reflecting Him.