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When Life's Too Hard...

 
Posted by Elaine July 31, 2019 at 12:00 AM AEST

In an instant, something can happen to change life our life forever, so how can we cope when tough times come?

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While admiring the first rays of sunrise shining heavenwards I was reminded that without these clouds across the path of the sun, there would be no rays of gold! In fact, when the sky is a cloudless clear blue at dawn I admit I’m a little disappointed.

Then on some mornings, the clouds are so dense the sun can’t penetrate through, but every spectacular sunrise I’ve seen has only been amazing thanks to the clouds.

In life sometimes, ‘dark clouds’ can loom across our path, blocking out everything we see as good. We all have them, these disruptions that we didn’t see coming or didn’t deserve, causing us to wonder, “Why?”

Years ago I found myself trapped in a situation I couldn’t avoid, through no fault of my own. The details aren’t worth repeating, however, I couldn’t shake my devastation at being wrongly accused, especially when I’d done best while volunteering in my ministry to work for God.

And all my life I’d trusted God to help in times of trouble and He’d always been there for me. This time, although I pleaded with God to rescue me from my thoughts and heal my heart, He didn’t take the darkness away. My family and friends couldn’t understand my dilemma. They couldn’t comfort me and I found myself in a very lonely place. I mulled over the details until my mind until I could think of nothing else, my desire to think of anything positive was lost as thoughts of doom held me captive while showing me no way out. I withdrew from everyone. My joy was lost.

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God knew we’d have moments like these. Here is His advice straight from the Bible which offers wisdom for every situation in life:
’You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse…. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8-10 MSG

Most excellent harmonies, I like that.

But just as the sun can’t offer rays of light without clouds blocking its path, sometimes like the sun, when we keep moving forward, we will reach the other side. Then, looking back, we get clarity about what we’ve endured and why.

In my case, God wasn’t taking the pain away because it was me who had to make that change. I needed to stop thinking about the hurt I’d experienced and turn my thoughts to something good. No-one else could do that for me.

As I spent time alone with God reminded me what life was like for Jesus while here on earth. He was rejected, misunderstood, wrongly accused, beaten, then sacrificed on a cross so another prisoner named Barabbas could go free. His whole life He was mistreated, knowing His fate was to die to make way for the rest of us who accept His love to also be forgiven and go free.

Being reminded that He was wronged without defence comforted me. If it was good enough for Him to suffer in His great love for us, then I could also stand up and begin to move forward. Though it wasn’t easy to change after being in my personal prison for so long I decided I’d had enough. I made the choice to stop looking at myself and find good things to think about. Soon the depression I’d been in for six months began to ease with the sadness eventually drifting away.

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It’s tough sometimes to be a Christian and this was one of those times. Doing what He asks promises to be challenging but Jesus promises it won’t be easy when we decide to follow Him as mentioned here in the New Testament.

Jesus called the crowd together with His disciples, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake and the gospel’s will save it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God]. Mark 8:34-35 AMP

There was another time when I grew older I felt I was no longer needed by anyone. My family were grown and raring their own children, my husband was at work all day. The empty nest syndrome I thought I’d never have had kicked in.

What was I to do with my life I wondered? This weighed heavy on my mind.

Then one day God asked me to begin taking photos of sunrise each day. I didn’t know why He wanted me to but I had no reason not to grant His request so off I went. That was 13 years ago now and my reason for watching these rays of light at dawn today.

When we decide to turn our back on our troubles and look for others who are also struggling, the trouble we’ve been through isn’t wasted. Helping others climb out of their pit frees us from our own, bringing release to our minds and taking back the joy lost in our struggle.

Now for advice straight from heaven’s throne:
So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. Philippians 4:8 TPT

Please share this message with those you love and bring hope and light to someone else’s world!
2019 Elaine Costin – Capturing Sunrise / Blog