Are you asking God for help when times get rough? Carol reminds us that we all have our challenges and that God is with us, even when we face challenges.
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How much do you enjoy tackling a challenge? Are you someone who goes out of their way to find a new challenge or do you wait until a challenge is given and accept it? Puzzles are a challenge for me – one I do not usually accept, although I have been known to try finding where a piece goes from time to time.
We all face challenges in life. Sometimes that challenge might be trying to get to the end of the month with enough money to pay the bills and put food on the table. It might be a challenge to find the help you need in a season of physical or emotional limitations. The challenge could be facing another day when you are at the end of your rope, have said goodbye to a special someone in your life or mental illness is one of your puzzle pieces of life.
If we are at a point in our lives where today is one of those great days, the road seems to have levelled off, life is progressing nicely, I hate to be the bearer of news you might not want to hear even though you know the truth of it. There are challenges ahead.
Or maybe we have already discovered the latest challenge in our life. The challenges may be tough stuff over which we feel we have no control and really do not want to accept them let alone try and thrive while experiencing them. The challenge may be something new you are starting – a new job, place to live, school or learning a new skill.
Are You Grateful During Challenges?
Each type of challenge comes with its own set of rules or maybe a lack of them. They all affect our lives in different ways and the same type of challenge will affect everyone differently. The tough stuff requires our faith to be strong, helping hands to come alongside and digging deep for courage, hope and finding the positives in the middle of the tough stuff.
I am reading a friend’s posts on Facebook as she goes through a tough journey with cancer. I appreciate her positive attitude, even as she shares how hard it is and how tears come often. She accepts prayers, visits and help from family and friends. She posts pictures of the blessings that day might have brought by looking for beauty and hope wherever she can. She sees the beauty of a sunset that many of us take for granted. She appreciates and comments on the care of the staff in the hospital when many of us might want to just gripe about what we can’t do or isn’t being done to help us. She shares the stories or jokes that have helped bring a smile to her face. She is in the middle of a challenging part of her life and yet she is thriving by believing that God has a plan and is the God of all possibilities. And her positive attitude is helping me re-evaluate how I look at the challenging puzzle pieces of my life.
There are questions I can ask myself each day. Am I grateful in the middle of the tough stuff? Do I appreciate the care of someone else and am I even willing to accept the help? What positives have I enjoyed today – like a sunset or a cleansing rain or the visit of a friend?
When I have been in the middle of the tough things in my life, I have not always been able to see the positives. There have been moments, days, weeks where I have struggled to find the tiniest glimmer of hope and then the negative voice of the enemy in my head tells me it is likely an oncoming train. But looking back, reflecting on those times after I am through them gives me a clearer picture of what has happened to bring me to this side of them.
God Is With Us Throughout Our Struggles
Looking back I see where God has led when I felt all alone. I remember being at the end of my rope, the darkness of depression after a traumatic series of events, threatened to destroy all hope, snatch away any peace and I could not focus on reading my Bible. My faith wavered. I wondered if anything positive could ever happen. How could I endure the challenging times and recover let alone thrive in the middle of them?
I wish I could tell you I searched daily for the positives but I didn’t. Some days I felt like no one understood. I didn’t want to hear the platitudes of others. Telling me to get over it or just go on did not help. Yet looking back I see the people God brought into my life during that season who just walked with me. They listened. They encouraged without forcing me to just get over it.
I remember how much of a role music played in my recovery. I sat at the piano and pounded – quite literally – on the keys. I played with gusto songs that required, or I thought so anyway, a hard striking of chords and loud sounds like Battle Hymn of the Republic. Slowly God began working through some of the old hymns as I played the notes with a lighter touch, having worked through some of the frustration. Then he began to use the words to speak truth into my life. Finally, Bible verses I had memorized years earlier began to find their way into my present situation.
I realize as I look back that God also brought people into my life at just the right time. First, it was a wonderful couple who spent time with us, were surrogate grandparents to our youngest when her own lived hours away and involved me in music. Then we moved and he brought other people into my life. He brought a wonderful woman, who became a friend. She asked questions that probed when she didn’t realize they would. She cried with me, prayed for me, encouraged me and let me know I wasn’t alone. Other Christians struggled with depression too.
Are You Asking God For Help?
I found comfort in the Psalms. David knew the uncertainty of life. He knew the darkness of the pit and the challenges of life on the run, enemies chasing him. But he also knew the blessings of praising God despite the challenges.
In Matthew 11: 28 -30 Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gently and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Challenges come as ugly puzzle pieces we would rather not find to be part of our life journey and picture. Depression in one that wiggles its insidious presence into our lives but there are others such as health challenges like cancer that rears its ugly, hurtful head too often these days. Physical, emotional and psychological pain worm their way into our lives through our own health concerns or those of our loved ones. We wonder if we can make it through, find a flicker of hope and survive the challenge.
I believe with all my heart that God hears our cries and answers but the answer does not always look like what we want or expect. How he chooses to help us put those pieces of our lives together will be as unique as each one of us. We are not alone in our struggles, our challenges, and our frustrations.
What challenges are you experiencing in your life? Are you surviving well in spite of them or are they breaking you down? I want to encourage you to keep going- you can do this – whatever the challenge is- with the help of God and those he puts in your life for such a time as this.
Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential. She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren. Visit her website carolscorner.ca
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