I know. You’re thinking we shouldn’t hate scripture—and I agree with you. But eons ago when I was a new Christian, I didn’t know that.
And so when I stumbled across this verse in my Bible, I thought You’ve got to be kidding me.
Fear not; there is nothing to fear for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am Your God. I will strengthen you and harden you to difficulties; yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My victorious right hand of rightness of and justice. (Isaiah 41:10) (Amplified Bible)
Now on the surface, you might think that Isaiah 41:10 is a good verse. But to me, that verse shouted one thing: Things are going to get worse. But you’ll get as tough as the callouses on a ballerina's feet, and even though it’ll be really, really hard, you’ll be able to walk on rough ground because I will help you.
The problem was, I didn’t want to be tough. And I hated callouses.
Those spoke of storms and tragedies and tough walks that I knew I didn’t want to endure. It didn’t matter if God said he’d be there. I’d had enough, and I’d rather not go through any more, thank you very much.
As far as I was concerned I’d already paid my dues—entirely too many dues, frankly, and I wanted happy verses. Verses that promised me everything was going to be alright. Verses that assured me God was in control, He loved me, and I wouldn’t have to go through any more pain.
Have you ever felt that way? Like you’ve endured so much, and one more thing—just one more
thing, would push your straight over the edge?
But now, 20-odd years later, I have fresh perspective. I realize that as God’s children, we are not here to experience lavishly comfortable lives. In fact, we’re called to lay down our lives. And part of that means going through some hard, uncomfortable times. But it’s not because God is cruel. Not at all.
It’s because the enemy is cruel. He steals and kills and destroys, and our earth is shaking with those who have been wounded and don’t know the One who can strengthen them and hold them up.
But we do.
Because when we go through our hard times, keeping our eyes on Jesus, knowing that God Himself girds and strengthens us, not only are we living proof of the Hope within us, but because of what we’ve endured, we can authentically pray, reach out, understand, and point others toward the One who awaits with outstretched arms.
Now I no longer hate that scripture verse. I adore it. Because it means that no matter what I go through, He is holding me up. And if you’re with me, in the end, our calloused feet will dance straight to Him, leading all those behind us.
All because we’ve been hardened to difficulties.
And ironically, that is exactly what softens our hearts.