Hard times…

Journaling Hard Times-resized-600.jpgI have been going through some really hard times lately. If you are close to me, you probably know a little of the story. If not, just know that when I say hard times, I mean times that would devastate most people. It seems every day I find out something new about myself, about my ex, about my life. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate discovery… I am just ready for life to balance out.

The good thing, the thing I am clinging to, is the knowledge that I am not alone. Something good can and will come from the tough spot that I find myself in right now. God promised!

Jesus experienced hard times too…the road to the cross was no small matter. But He had to decide to go through it. He didn’t want to. He even asked God if it was necessary. But he CHOSE. He chose me. He chose you.

Just like Jesus had to make a choice, you and I also have to decide to go through hard times.

As we move toward Easter, I can’t help but think about how we celebrate His resurrection. Comparing it to myself and how I have been going through my hard times is quite the eye-opener. It kind of feels like we all go through our own private crucifixion and resurrection on a somewhat regular basis. Or, as Joyce Meyer says, “Friday always comes before Sunday.”

I was reading an article by her this morning and she posed the question, “Ever wonder why we refer to the day of Jesus’ death as “Good” Friday, since it’s a day that involved so much pain, agony and heartache? Well, it’s because the result of this particular Friday—Christ’s resurrection from the dead on Sunday—was good.”

In our daily lives, we need to believe that when we go through hard times, the result will be good. But when we’re hurting, probably one of the most challenging things for us to remember is that God is going to work it out for our good. I know the past few weeks have been especially challenging for me. But I am digging in and renewing my faith.

The Bible says all things work together for the good of those that love him and keep his commands. I love him, and I try my darndest to keep his commands, so this applies to me and my life! This is a key scripture for Christians as we are walking through hard or disappointing times. When something doesn’t happen the way we would like it to happen, we can believe God will work things out for good. It’s the place we can always come back to in every kind of trial.

Now this doesn’t mean the trials are necessarily good, but God can work them out for our good because He is awesome. You have to be some kind of awesome God to be able to take bad things and turn them around for good!

If we love God and really want His will for our life, I think it’s safe to say that we can trust Him to bring good from it—no matter what happens to us. Even if we have to take detours because of our own stupidity (which has been me, quite a bit lately) or if we’re innocent but someone else gets involved and brings hurt and pain into our life, we can trust God to work it out. I like to say, “No person on earth and no devil in hell can keep me from God’s will.”

One thing I hope is that in these tough, disappointing times, I can learn something! I want to be able to look back and think that I wouldn’t even be half the person I am now if that wouldn’t have happened.

We seem to grow the most during hard times. I heard somewhere that a tree’s growth period is the winter. When it is cold, and looks like death, that is when it grows the most! It’s the same for me.  During these times, I am learning to really press into God and go to a deeper level in my relationship with Him. Why? Because I have to. It’s my only choice if I want to make it through the difficulty. I know that when we trust God, He gives us the comfort of knowing that He can work bad things out for our good.

Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus, for the joy of obtaining the prize on the other side of the cross—the resurrection—endured the pain. Like Jesus, we have to endure bad things. To endure means to outlast the devil; to be steadfast long enough to let the trial do whatever it’s going to do in our lives and get from one side of the cross to the other.

Now, obviously, we don’t just go from Friday to Sunday. We have to learn to endure Saturday, which I think is sometimes the hardest to do. I am really hoping this is my Saturday. We’ll call it the middle. In everything, there’s a beginning, an end, and a middle. The beginning is sometimes a little bit exciting because it’s a new thing. And the end is certainly exciting because it’s where we experience the victory. But, oh…that middle! The Saturdays may be even harder than the Fridays because on Saturday, we’re in the grave and we’re not sure what’s going to happen next.

Most of the time, we don’t know how long the middle’s going to last, and although God knows…He’s not telling. So we need to remember that when we’re going through the middle of something, we can be assured Sunday always comes after Friday. But we have to endure Saturday—we have to outlast the devil, remain steadfast, not give up and persevere no matter how hard it looks. We cannot quit! When we persevere, we will enjoy the resurrection benefits and blessings that come on Sunday.

Sunday, Sunday!!! Jesus endured the cross because He knew what was waiting on the other side of it. I know that we are all going to have to endure some things, and we’re going to face some hard times. But the only way to do it is to go through it.

Whether we’re hit by an unexpected circumstance, suffering for doing something wrong or for resisting temptation and sin by doing what’s right, we have to go through things. But waiting for you on the other side of the hard times is the joy of obtaining the prize—the good result.

I am excited for my Sunday. Please keep me in your prayers through this Saturday in my life!

Happy-Easter

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About Shannon Joy

I am a single mother of two incredible munchkins. I pray a lot, work a lot, learn a lot, volunteer a lot and tend to do a lot... I love my life. The past few years have been an incredible journey, full of ups and downs. Thankfully, I have made the choice to see challenges as opportunities and it makes me so much stronger than I ever thought possible. I love to write and paint and feel that being creative is my God-given talent. I am so excited to share my life and experiences with you. Although I am a diamond in the rough, I known that I am being chiseled and hewn by God's grace and my own perseverance. I love comments and feedback, so please send a little love when you can. I will always try to respond personally and in a timely fashion.
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