Life is hard! Admit it. Max Lucado sums it up it succinctly:
“Lower your expectations of earth. This isn’t heaven, don’t expect it to be.”
We want to sugar coat it and pretend that being a Christian is pure joy, but we misrepresent the Christian experience to those to whom we witness. Additionally, we confuse our children! They see sickness, death, unkind deeds, hunger, crime, and all the harsh realities a life early on. When we present the Christian life without hardship, new Christians and our children wonder if they are failing at Christianity somehow.
I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE THAT BEING A CHRISTIAN ISN’T A VACCINE AGAINST TROUBLES.
I am sure that everyone reading this knows it too.
How often in life do we ask:
We wanted another child, but after my third miscarriage it didn’t seem to be in the cards. Of course, I asked ‘why’ each time I lost a very much wanted child.
When my friend moved away
We got together almost daily when our kids were little. Our families went to the same church, babysat each other’s children, and took vacations together. For several years we even job shared. I worked one week and she worked the other.
It was the beginning of summer and we just finished VBS week. My friend said let’s go to lunch. Honestly, I don’t remember where the kids were, but they weren’t with us at the time.
“Our family is moving to my home state of California this summer. We want to be gone in time for the kids to start school in September.”
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
Then there was the , “I want a divorce” after 25 years of marriage.
This was about a year after my friend moved. Surely, I should have seen this coming, but I didn’t. Discouraged, Disappointed, Devastated.
YEP, LIFE IS HARD!
Didn’t God warn us about hardship after ‘the fall’
After all, God punished Adam and Eve after ‘the fall’ and it’s still affecting us today.
The Bible tells us:
“If people want to follow me, they must give up things they want. They must be willing to give up their daily lives to follow me” (Luke 9:23 NCV).
“…In this world you will have trouble…” (John 16:33)
“Everyone who wants to live as God desires, in Christ Jesus, will be hurt” (2 Timothy 3:12).
“…Your life is like a mist…” (James 4:14)
However, despite these gloom and doom verses, we are encouraged to look for the treasure. Yes, even when life is hard.
“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. (Isaiah 45:3)
We should appreciate the character of our Creator caring enough to summon us by name and give us treasures even during hard times. Click on Isaiah 45:3 to see how a hidden treasure was stored for a long time and when discovered it surely showed the power, kindness, and reality of God Almighty.
WOMEN OF THE BIBLE WHO FOUND THE HIDDEN TREASURES
Jochebed, Moses’ Mother
She gave birth to her son during tumultuous times. She was a slave in Egypt and Pharaoh had given the order to kill all baby boys to keep the slave population under control. After all, he didn’t want a revolt, and those Hebrews were so strong.
Most of us know the story. Jochebed devised a plan that ended with Pharaoh’s daughter adopting her son!
So, where’s the hidden treasure in losing her child? Well, Jochebed was her son’s nursemaid until he was weaned, which in OT times could have been four years old. I’m sure she instilled in this child the Hebrew values and traditions. She was probably able to see him grow, albeit from a distance. (Exodus 2: 1-10)
Ruth, the Moabite
She lost her husband at a young age, moved to a new land with her mother-in-law, where Moabites were not particularly welcomed. Ahh, but she knew God was with her. They just happened to arrive in Bethlehem at harvest time. Then there was the ‘God Wink’ that led her to Boaz’s field to glean stalks of grain. She eventually marries Boaz and has a family. (Ruth 2: 1-17, 4:13)
There is also the hidden treasure that is kept secret for years. You see she was an ancestor of David and Jesus. She is even mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy. (Matthew 1:5)
Another woman widowed at a young age. Her faith sustained her for she knew the greatest hidden treasure was to come. She lived in the Temple, waiting expectantly for the Messiah. Her ‘God Wink’ allowed her to be present when Mary and Joseph, following the laws and customs of the Jewish people, brought Jesus to the Temple to present the required sacrifice.
The hidden treasure Anna waited on was made known to her and she praised God and told everyone she could that the Messiah was here!
So, how do we find these treasures when life is hard?
Sometimes we must wait on the treasures to shine through. My son was 19 when we divorced and I didn’t have to drag younger children through a family breakup. Eventually, God gave me stepchildren to love like my own.
And yes, the friendship is different after the move, but it forced me to make new friends and allowed me to travel to California – a place I’d never been! Fast travel shortens the distance and there are so many ways to connect today.
These were definitely ‘God Winks’ that evolved from my hard times and I know there are more to come. We must learn to keep our eyes open and dig deep into our faith find the hidden treasures.
When we find them, I think God must smile.
So, as always, I encourage comments below. Share your ‘God Winks.’ You might just help a sister in Christ find her hidden treasure when life is hard.