What’s your long-term response to difficulty?

Would you be skeptical if I confessed that the idea for today’s post came to me while I was lying bed with a fever last night? Well, I’m sure that’s appropriate, but hang with me…this could prove to at least be interesting.

My fever was beginning to spike, accompanied by the usual chills and shivering. So I did what I always do in that situation—exactly the wrong thing. I piled on the heavy blankets and put a hot pack at my icy feet to try to relieve some of the discomfort—while I waited for the Tylenol to kick in.

Warming my feet with the hot pack was a lot like standing by a nice, hot, wood stove after playing in the snow. It feels wonderful, but even after you’re warmed through, you have to keep rotating yourself. The parts of your body that are not facing the stove get jealous of the part that is. When you do turn and expose a new part of your body to the direct heat, it feels that much more luxurious and satisfying because of the previous perceived deprivation.

And so it was that last night, as I lay there adjusting and readjusting the hot pack, I thought about lack and want—specifically, how we respond to them in our own lives. When we experience times of loss, pain, discomfort, and need, how does it shape our perspective in the long run?

Are we that much more thankful for times of peace and plenty when they come? Is our faith bolstered to see how God supplied for us even in the midst of hardship? Or do we use our past difficulties and heartaches to color the present and future with fear? Do we refuse to see, enjoy, and appreciate the good in order to protect ourselves from being disappointed when trials inevitably come again?

We are in a spiritual war zone—and we are supposed to be participating in the battle (Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 2 Tim 2:3). The last thing we need is to be squandering times of rest and refreshing by exhausting ourselves with worry and fear.

Without trust and contentment, we will be poor soldiers indeed.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I’m doing much better today, by the way.

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4 thoughts on “What’s your long-term response to difficulty?”

  1. I would hope that we all can come away from seasons of trials, pain and want with a new sense of compassion and understanding. I remember a speaker once mentioning someone praying for you with the “arm of understanding” around your shoulder-meaning they had experienced the same or similar trial and survived to minister to you! It never ceases to amaze me how God is able to take things that the enemy would like to use to devastate our lives and turn them into something that so permeates our very nature and strengthens our character. “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. I’ve heard this quoted many times-usually in a secular setting-but there is an underlying spiritual truth in it. When we allow our life experiences to make us better rather than bitter-we win!

  2. Get Well! Thanks for the posting. The holidays are such a mix of joy, hope, loss and disappointment for me that it’s an annual lesson in leaning on God.

    1. Thanks for joining us on “the blog side” Jennifer. I don’t know what it is that you face during the holidays, but I’m not surprised that you use it to learn to lean on God better. You’re such a joyful encourager!

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