With only two days till I fly back to Uganda, Elisa and I keep reminding each other that hard is good. Hard brings more dependence on God, conforms us into His image, draws us closer to the Lord, burns off the ugly dross, and makes us more beautiful! So last night, after Elisa shared her heart about a variety of topics, she crawled into bed with me and let the tears flow onto my shoulder. "I don't want you to go," she sobbed.
I concurred, then listed the mom replacements she'd be left with. "It's not a mom I'm worried about; it's you as a person."
The latter statement made me cry too, and soon we were both looking for tissue beside the bed. After stroking her hair, I left my hand on her shoulder, and we eventually drifted off to sleep.
Knowing all the benefits of hardships should remove the pain, right? But if the pain were removed, there would be no more hardships...and no more benefits. I can't have one without the other since the one creates the other. In my humanness, I want to run from hardships or face them head-on to fix them. Either way, I want that ache in my heart to go away. But Christ calls me to persevere like He did while enduring the worst pain the world's ever known. How did He do it? He saw the future joy before Him. He didn't focus on the present pain, even though it was ever present before Him. He looked to the future benefit.
Like Christ, I don't want to remove my hardship, but persevere through it. Not just withstand it, waiting for it to go away, but the verb persevere has "movement" in the meaning. Ache in my heart or no ache (just like a runner endures through that side/lung ache), I'll not stop, but keep pressing on, eyes off myself and into the needs around me to serve hard, trusting that God is sustaining me according to His wisdom.
His grace was, is, and will be sufficient.
"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Psalm 27:13
Keep pressing on, dear sisters!
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. Psalm 73:28