So far 2018 has been a wild ride full of adventure, surprise, and promise. It’s been exciting, intense, and fun all at the same time. It’s a nice change of pace because the last couple of years were full of heartache, failure, and loss. I’ve learned a lot in both seasons and some of it has surprised me. I think the best thing we can do as we go through different seasons in life is to look for opportunities to learn. Now that’s a lot easier said than done. While going through hard times in life sometimes all you can think about is how you’re going to make it out alive on the other side. However, once you’ve been through that hard time you can begin to take a look back on the lessons you might learn from. I’ve been doing that lately and have been able to come up with a few things.
1. Praying is easier when things are harder.
This might be a generalized statement but for me, when everything around us was crazy it felt so easy to cry out to God in prayer. I remember countless mornings getting up early to sit in my closet on my face and pray and ask God for help. Morning after morning. I never ran out of things to pray for or about. Now, in a new season where it feels like everything is going our way, I’ve realized that I don’t have many requests to pray about or things I need God’s guidance on. At first I thought, well, I’ll just pray less now, but this is the perfect opportunity to pray for others! Family, friends, leaders in our community and country all need our prayer. Don’t know anyone who needs prayer? Just ask. Post something about prayer requests on Facebook and you’re sure to get a few responses. You could change someone’s day just by letting them know that you’re praying for them.
2. God is faithful.
This is something I’ve never doubted. Not when our daughter died, not when we had a miscarriage, and not when I closed my business. It’s one thing to believe it while going through a difficult season but it feels so good when you look back and you’re able to say with full confidence that “Yes, God was and is faithful”. I read a verse today that really struck me.
“Yet Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay and you are the Potter.” Isaiah 64:8
I love that verse because of that first word:
That word alone describes the faithfulness of God. No matter what you’re going through or what you’re facing, no matter what kind of situation you find yourself in. You might be at the end of your rope…YET God has a plan. You’re tired, weary, down for the count, YET God is faithful.
The other part I love is the analogy of the potter and the clay. The clay doesn’t choose what happens to it. The clay has to trust and have faith in the potter that it will turn it into something beautiful, or at least useful. Now of course the clay is an inanimate object but don’t let that distract you from the fact that we also get to choose to trust in God, our potter if you will, that what we’re going through is meant to grow us, stretch us, and turn us into something that we couldn’t have imagined before. A good potter doesn’t become frustrated with his work when the clay doesn’t cooperate or do what he wants, he keeps working it, with patience and diligence, turning it into what is was meant to be. The same is true of God. He’s a loving Father who doesn’t throw up His hands in the air when we mess up or fail, He keeps guiding us with love and patience.
3. Seasons (even good ones) always come to and end.
Every season comes to an end. Spring turns to Summer, NFL turns to NBA, hard times can turn into good times and vice versa. When you’re in the midst of a tough season it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There can be so much pressure that you feel like it will always be that way but the good news is that sooner or later a tough season will be over. Don’t get too caught up in the drama of whatever season you find yourself in but stand firm in the knowledge that things change. That’s not just a pipe dream, they actually do. Ancient wisdom says “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are made new.” After our daughter passed away there were mornings where I thought to myself “I’m always going to be this sad, this is the way life is now” I didn’t know how we were going to continue on in life missing one of our children. Yet (there it is again) it says in the Bible:
“You’ll see: you will rejoice and you will flourish like grass.” Isaiah 66:14
It’s like God is saying “Yes, it’s hard now, but you have no idea the goodness that is around the corner. You’ll see. I’m working on something big. You’re going to rejoice, you’re going to be glad and you’re going to FLOURISH” That’s what I see when I read that verse. It will all be good. I don’t picture short, half-dead and crusty grass either. No, I picture lush, deep green grass covered in dew and soft beneath your feet. The kind of grass that is well manicured and watered, grass. When you start to get caught up in the misery and despair of your situation remember that God says that you will flourish like grass. It might not be tomorrow but the thing with grass is that if you water it, prune it, and take care of it, it will flourish. Do the same to your soul and it will flourish just like the grass.