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The Blessings of Hardships

24 June, 2008

No body likes to be going through hard times. They are not pleasant, they stretch us in every possible way, seemingly to breaking point. We are left bruised, beaten and utterly spent.

And yet, even in our hardships, there is blessing.

The Bible says that God works all things for good. That doesn’t mean that everything that happens to us is good or that God makes all the bad stuff happen. What it does mean is that God can, and does, work good from even the most difficult of times.

Blessings can come from unexpected places. The closure of a mother’s group you’d been attending for years might open up a new opportunity for you, perhaps a coordinating roll for a group for less experienced mums, or allow you more time to help out another family. A house fire can bring new perspective on what is important in life. The death of a friend after a long battle with illness can be bittersweet – you are sad they are gone but happy that their suffering is finally over. A prolonged hospital stay with an sick child may provide opportunities to rest and catch up on some reading while your child sleeps.

Coming upon hardships can bring great personal growth. Hardships force us to learn patience, perseverance, gratitude and temperance. When we swallow our pride and ask for help we learn humility. We also give others the opportunity to bless us and enrich our lives. In many ways you never really learn who your true friends are until you are facing adversity. Friendships deepen with vulnerability, and what more vulnerable position can you be in but to say “We’re doing it really tough at the moment and we could use your help”.

Hardships also force us to stop. Sometimes our hardships are brought upon us, or exacerbated by, our own poor choices. Hardships can give us the opportunity to stop and take stock of our lives. We may discover that we are committed to some things because we feel obligated to, not because these things enrich us, or are areas we are talented or gifted in or things we are passionate about. (Of course of all of us need to do things we don’t like, at times, but there’s no point serving as the treasurer of the football club if your kids don’t play football and you’re useless at figures. Leave that job for someone who is good at it and cares about the sport).

I have only skimmed the surface of the blessings a hardship can bring. However, if we look closely, we will see the blessings we have been given.

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