Friday, August 10, 2012

The Hard Stuff

Quite a few people that I love are going through really awful, shattering, life altering stuff: sickness, death, divorce, watching grown children make bad decisions, depression, a spouse in jail, bankruptcy.  And that's just people in the USA and NZ.  Heartbreaking.

When people are sharing sometimes the best thing to do is just listen and love.  But while I can't solve their problems I want to encourage them as well.

In the middle of the struggle it's hard to see the light at the end.  It's hard to see beauty through the shadows and pain.  It's hard to imagine that something good can come from the ashes.

Steve was reminding our family the other day about how the Good News was originally spread. It was through persecution when the people scattered because they were forced to leave Jerusalem and through the blood of martyrs.  Sometimes terrible things, while still terrible, aren't only what they seem. And He still looks after us through it all.

"Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, G0d's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before G0d. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for G0d is worked into something good."
                                                       -  Rom. 8:26-28 (the Message)

But what can we do in the middle of the struggle when we can't see the end?  There's no easy answer but here are a few things I've jotted down when my own road has been rough and I've found solace in His Word:

1.  WAIT and TRUST -  "But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength, they will soar high on the wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint."  -Is. 40:31   "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.  Wait for the LORD ; Be strong and let your heart take courage ; Yes, wait for the LORD."  -Ps. 27:13-14

2. HIDE in Him - "G0d is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble"  -PS.46:1  "Do not be afraid , for I have called you by name; you are mine."  -Is. 43:1  "See, I have written your name in the palms of my hands."  -Is. 49:16a  

3. Find PEACE- "Can all of your worries add a single moment to your life?" -Matt. 6:27  "Why are you afraid?  Do you still have no faith?" -Mark 4:40 (After J3sus calmed the storm)  "For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.  They will hold you up with their hands so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone."  -Ps. 91:11-12

 "Rehearsing your troubles only results in experiencing them many times."  -Sarah Young

4. Rely on His STRENGTH- "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I willboast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Chr1st's power may rest in me." -2 Cor.12:9  "Look to the L0rd and his strength; seek his face always." -Ps. 105:4

5.  Guard your THOUGHTS- "So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.  But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace." -Rom. 8:6

"In the process, I've come to believe that G0d will never waste our pain-----but I can." -Glynnis Whitver

6. FOLLOW Him- "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths. I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do:  I will not forsake them" -Is. 42:16

"I was documenting the storm going on right now and suddenly realized that there are beautiful things happening all around us all the time, if we would just open up our eyes and see them ."
-quote and photograph by my friend Katherine Murray Williamson

Imagine the smile on His face as we enjoy the things that He has made for us!  Especially when they are moments of beauty in the middle of a storm........