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When the Going Gets Tough

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

But where do they go?

Our responses to trouble vary as much as we do. When life treats us harshly, be it as a consequence of our choices or not, we really do have options in how we handle it.

We can complain. The Bible tells us to bring our worries to God. He cares for us and has shoulders big enough to carry our burdens. (1 Peter 5:7)

We can run away from our troubles in an attempt to avoid or deny them. While we may try to hide from our troubles, the Bible tells us we can never hide from God’s presence. He is always with us. (Psalm 139:7-12)

We can focus our energy on hard work to overcome the problem. The Bible tells us that hard work and planning benefit us. (Proverbs 6:6-8)

We can collapse in a heap of tears. The Bible tells us there are appropriate times for sadness and crying. (Ecclesiastes 3:4)

When Judah and Jerusalem faced trouble and exile as a result of not following God, He sent the prophet Isaiah to warn them of God’s punishment. Isaiah said, “Heaven and earth, listen, because the Lord is speaking: ‘I raised my children and helped them grow up, but they have turned against me.  An ox knows its master, and a donkey knows where its owner feeds it, but the people of Israel do not know me; my people do not understand.’” (Isaiah 1:2-3 NCV)

Rather than turning toward God, the Israelites turned away from God. God described them in contrast to oxen and donkeys that got hungry and knew the way back home to their feeding troughs. Animals knowing where to go for food offers poignant imagery for us. We must be such stubborn creatures to choose continued trouble in life over returning to a loving Father who provides for us! We have another choice.

“Wash yourselves and make yourselves clean. Stop doing the evil things I see you do. Stop doing wrong. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Punish those who hurt others. Help the orphans. Stand up for the rights of widows.” The Lord says, “Come, let us talk about these things. Though your sins are like scarlet, they can be as white as snow. Though your sins are deep red, they can be white like wool.  If you become willing and obey me, you will eat good crops from the land. But if you refuse to obey and if you turn against me, you will be destroyed by your enemies’ swords.” (Isaiah 1:16-20 NCV)

When life gets tough, we can complain. We can avoid. We can work hard. We can cry. My hope is that, in any of these responses, we also turn and return to God, living the way He calls us to live and loving others as He loves. - Kathy Raines, Minister of Administration

Posted by Kathy Raines