Your Heart in Hard Times

We all have them. Bad days. Unexpected problems. Things we didn’t sign up for. Things that are totally out of our control.

Maybe it is financial hardship or a loss of a job. Or maybe someone who should be doing you good is doing you harm. A friend betrays you or a parent  hurts you deeply. Maybe you have a child who is terminally ill. In all these things our hearts  rise up in opposition to the crisis. We wonder if God sees, knows or even cares.

I love this quote by Elisabeth Elliot who had her life turned upside down by the murder of her husband, missionary Jim Elliot, by people he was trying to help. He was trying to befriend the Auca Indians and they killed him. Her husband was gone in an instant. She found herself a widow; her children fatherless. She was in a strange land, and she had two choices. To see God as a loving and wise Father who always  does what is best for her  or to chose the path of bitterness and resentment toward God. Hear what Elisabeth says:

“Lord, You have assigned my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure’ (Ps16:5). I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier,directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.”

We need the same mindset when things seem all wrong. We can chose to trust, or we can choose to sin.

The Bible shows us many examples of sisters in Christ who faced hard times and chose to walk in faith, knowing that God would do what was right for them: Sarah, Abigail, Hannah and Mary to name a few. They chose faith and obedience even though things would be hard.

  • Sarah packed up her life and followed her husband Abraham to their “new home.”  Problem was,  Abraham had no idea where he was taking her.  Only God knew where that would be.
  • Abigail lived with a drunken fool, but was godly enough to protect her household from King David’s anger at Nabal’s rudeness and insolence.
  • Hannah felt the pain of barrenness and longed and prayed for children while living with the taunts of  her husband’s “other wife” who had no problem having children.
  • Mary  risked her reputation and many misunderstandings when she agreed to be the mother of the Savior, Jesus.

When trials come, they open wide the dark corners of our hearts and reveal the true us. Our words and actions show what is really reigning.  The “fruit” of the spirit will be evident or the “fruit” of the flesh, aka sin.

The spirit filled life will produce the same works and attitudes of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life is flowing through our life, enabling us to walk as He walked. We will respond to life’s problems with trust and obedience. Our lives and testimonies will be characterized by loving others, joyful countenances, the peace of God, gentleness and kindness to all people.

When sin reigns, we will exhibit the characteristics of the fallen nature: anger, bitterness, unforgiving spirit, desire to rule others, jealousy, envy, manipulation and the list goes on and on.

Our desire has to be for God alone, His glory and our growth in Christlikeness. Then our desire will be an awareness of His control in our lives, glad submission to His good will and a desire to please Him with our actions and reactions.

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