Staying in the Hard Spot

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 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.


Terri Tiffany said...

Better is the end of the thing than the beginning of it." - Ecclesiastes 7:8a
Oh Julie, you wrote this post for me today. I have a difficult moment to endure in my new job tomorrow--a situation I would rather quit my job than go through but I know the outcome would be better. I am praying God will see me through it. THank you for the words and motivation!

Laura Chase said...

Very well said, Julie! Terri, we are standing with you tomorrow! "Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take care of itself. Be anxious for nothing, but in prayer for everything, for God's in control and we still have hope!"
:) LC

Cheryl Barker said...

What great encouragement, Julie, to those of us who find ourselves in some tough spots. May I let my tough spots push me deeper into His arms and help me develop more of the character of Christ!

Diane said...

Thank you for the encouragement. Just this morning I was thinking of giving up in a certain situation, because it would be so much easier..... like anyone in the New Testament had it easy?!?!? I don't want to miss out and be disappointed when the miracle happens. Thank you! :O)

Bonita said...

This week the kids and I studied the passage where God tells Paul that Hisgrace is sufficient because His strength is made perfect in weakness. We talked about the fact that God was more concerned with Paul's character development than He was with turning his situation around. Hard to accept, but so very true.

Julie, I always love reading your writing. It always sucks me right in and I can't stop. Book! Write book, woman!

Diane said...

P.S. I linked to your post at my blog today

Great article! :O)

Rachel Beran said...

I always enjoy your posts, Julie. Forwarded this one on to a friend today. We are def a culture of "quick fixes", aren't we?!

Thanks for pouring so much of yourself into your writing.

Rose said...

Amen....especially to the part of not rescuing us out of our circumstances. That was so evident in Scripture. God never removed one person from their circumstances, he guided them through it. Great post.

achildoftheking said...

Yes, LORD!

Debra@CommonGround said...

Amen, Julie, so much Truth here, but so hard for us to realize it.
My health right now is the same kind of situation. He's with me, walking me through.

Unknown said...

Julie, a wonderful post again. It's true we can't escape but we need to embrace. I'm encouraged today!

Love you!

LauraLee Shaw said...

Straight from HIs heart to your pen, my friend. Incredible Truth I needed to hear and act upon in faith. Awesome, awesome is our God!

Betsy Markman said...

Just found your blog and was blessed by it. Count me as a subscriber!

Karen said...

Good words, Julie. That's always a lesson I seem to need to learn over and over.

Deb said...

Cause it's so hard for me to stay there.

To stay still.

But I am trying.

Sweet dreams.

Sue J. said...

I shared this on another blog today, but it's so convicting, Romans 5:3-5-- "...but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

We can't get to character and hope without going through suffering and perseverance. What we need to claim is that last part about God pouring out his love into our hearts though the Spirit, because that's the assurance we have that we do not travel the road of suffering alone. We can embrace Jesus each and every step of the way, because He knows....

Not an easy choice made by our free will! In Christ.... way different motivation.

Nancy said...

What an excellent word for today. Thank you. You expressed this idea very well.

Amy said...

Very nice blog, but I'm just curious :) why is it titled believed as apose to believes? Lovely blog just stopping by and wondering :) Blessings! ~Amy

myletterstoemily said...

i'm such a jonah! thanks for the timely
word. i had someone get a little unhappy
with me in blogworld. it is tempting to
avoid her, but not now!

Eagles Wings said...

Words of wisdom my friend words of wisdom!!! Thanks for sharing and being real!

Tea with Tiffany said...

Great words of wisdom. I agree staying in hard spot has benefits. God is always up to something when life is especially hard.

Thanks for your friendship. Thanks for listening in to Barbara and I for our first radio show. We are trusting God with our new beginnings.

Hugs from Colorado!

Anonymous said...

What a wise and beautifully written post.

myletterstoemily said...

how we wrestle and struggle
against it.

such a good word for those of
us who have had a steady diet
of 'make me happy!"

thank you,

prashant said...

I am praying God will see me through it. THank you for the words and motivation!
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