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Are you going through a hard time? Maybe you recently lost your job, or you're dealing with a death in your family. Or maybe you're just not sure anything good in life can happen to you. Whatever you're dealing with, I want you to know that you're not alone and something good can come from the tough spot you're 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 even asked God if it was really necessary. (But we know how this amazing love story ended.)
Just like Jesus had to make a choice, you and I also have to decide to go through hard times.
As we celebrate His resurrection, I like to look at how we go through our own hard times. I think we also go through our own private crucifixion and resurrection on a somewhat regular basis. Often I say "Friday always comes before Sunday."
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.
All things do work together for our good! My husband, Dave, says this is a key scripture for Christians when we go 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 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."
It's comforting to really believe things will work out okay…even on a day like Good Friday, with so much suffering and pain. When nothing made sense and everything was hard, God worked it out for good—bringing the greatest blessing mankind will ever receive!
We can believe Friday was good because of the result it brought, not because of what happened at the time.
I know after I have gone through a really hard time, I've looked back and thought that I wouldn't even be half the person I am now if that wouldn't have happened. Haven't many of us experienced this? Don't we wish we could just grow in good times?
But we only seem to really grow during hard times. I think it's because it's during those times that we really press into God and go to a deeper level in our relationship with Him. Why? Because we have to. It's our only choice if we want to make it through the difficulty. When we trust God, He gives us the comfort of knowing that He can work bad things out for our good.
There are usually two sides to everything. The cross has two: a crucifixion side and a resurrection side. And Jesus had to endure one side to get to the other. But if He hadn't endured, then we'd all still be left without a Savior and no forgiveness of our sins.
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, 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. 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. (Isn't He great at keeping secrets?) 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 and not give up or quit. When we do, we will enjoy the resurrection benefits and blessings that come on Sunday.
So, I want to remember that Jesus endured the cross because He knew what was waiting on the other side of it. In our daily lives, we are 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.