Posts Tagged ‘hardship’

Steady

Posted: September 13, 2013 in Teachable Moment
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Steady. It’s a word that carries the idea of patient endurance; like someone steadily walking towards a faint glow in the distance despite torrential rain, wind and mud clawing at their feet. Every step is slow and difficult but they never stop walking towards the light. Jesus was steady. Despite temptations in the desert, loneliness and exhaustion in His ministry and torture at the cross, he walked steadily towards the light of glory in the end. Steady is a characteristic that should weave itself into the fabric of who we are as imitators of Jesus, but in recent days I have been heavily burdened with the realization that too often this is not the case.

Last week I heard the story of a woman who, because of her gambling and drinking addictions, has decided to give up her children with no real desire to ever get them back. I heard three different stories of women who are giving up on their marriages simply because they are not in love anymore and feel that divorce is what they need to find their happiness. These stories are sad but the saddest thing to me is that they are not rare. Marriages, kids and friendships, both Christian and non-Christian, are falling by the wayside because somewhere along the line our culture has lost what it means to be steady; to walk a road that is hard because it is right. This is not to say that a change in circumstances is never necessary, but it seems that all too often it is not the circumstances but the person who really needs to change.

So as a mom, I find myself asking the question is this all my kids have to look forward to? How do I teach my kids to let hardship change them into strong, steady followers of Jesus Christ instead of people who run away at the first sign of difficulty? In Hebrews 10:35-36 it says this: “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” I think this verse holds the key to learning how to be steady. In verse 34 it describes how the readers of the letter joyfully accepted the seizure of their property knowing that they had a better and lasting treasure waiting for them. Their confidence was in the promises of God; that he would come back for them, bringing both justice and reward and this confidence gave them endurance to walk through the pain and be changed.

To me, the coolest thing about God is that He has not only revealed who He is in the truth of scripture, but He has also told us how the story ends. Why? To make us steady; to give us the endurance we will need to do His righteous will even when it feels like death to do so.

Now, the way we pass this on to our kids is twofold. Not only must we strive to firmly root them in their faith (Colossians 2:6-9) but we must also live this way ourselves. We must be steady. If you are anything like me, this idea is terrifying. Life is full of torrential rain that drowns my resolve, howling winds that blow my emotions in all directions and mud that weighs down my soul making it difficult to even move. But the light in the distance is the promises of God and the thing that must be steady in every day of my life is a constant re-orientation around His truth. This is what my kids must see. When I am sick of life and I want to run away, they need to see me clinging to Jesus and they need to see me stay. Not because it is easy but because it is right and the glory of God’s promises is what waits in the end.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite time of the year.  It’s the official kick-off of the Christmas season and it’s a time to celebrate all the great things in life like family, friends and exceptional food. However, this year it feels like everything I have hoped for has ended in immense frustration and I find myself allowing clouds of disappointment to hang over all the beautiful things about my life.

It’s pathetic really. I have a relationship with the living God who not only saved me once and for all but loves me more than I can fathom.  I have a husband who is still crazy about me even after 10 years of marriage, beautiful children who are healthy, a family who is there for me, friends who care, I have food to eat, enough money to cover expenses and a pillow top mattress, which I have to admit is one of my favorite things in life. Could anyone really ask for more? Yet, in the last week, it seems that my heart has struggled to live in the reality of God’s goodness. Instead, I find disappointment tugging at my thoughts and pirating the unshakeable joy that is rightfully mine in Christ.  However, as I meditate on these things, I am reminded that this joy is only born of the gratitude that I am lacking.  It comes from realizing who God is and who I am not. God is good and I am not. God is sovereign and I am not. No matter what He gives or takes away it is for my growth, my good and my ultimate joy. Therefore, when I am grateful for the blessings that warm my soul AND grateful for the hardship that shakes my affections from this world, joy is born because suddenly every cloud of disappointment has a silver lining of purpose.

So as moms, we all want our kids to have joy but I think the best way to give them that is to show them what true gratitude looks like. Teach them to count their blessings of course, but also teach them to count their hardships as blessings.  As I have already mentioned, I am having a difficult time doing that this year, but here is my challenge, to myself and to all my fellow readers out there. When you are sitting around that Thanksgiving feast tomorrow with your friends and family, don’t just say thanks for the blessings but also for the difficulties that are keeping you walking towards Him. We give thanks because of who He is not because of what He gives us and thus we have unshakeable joy.

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.” – Psalm 107:1