A Word for 2018 - What Kind of Suffering Are You Going to Allow in Your Life?

As we kick into another year I think it's important to take a moment to think about the highs and lows of the previous year. It’s a good time to look at the things that we enjoyed and the things that we struggled with. The good times and the bad - the fun times and the hard times.

I often hear fellow Christians talking about the fact that “God never said life would be easier. He promised suffering would come.” And with this, we feel like we find some purpose for the things we don’t like in our lives. 

But here is the thing - Yes, He said things would be hard at times BUT what kind of “hard” are you allowing in your life? 

There are certain types of “hard” that God definitely did NOT promise. And yet, if we are not careful, we can get caught out giving permission to something that God did not. 

For example, the "hard" things that God did not promise are things like sickness, torment, poverty, financial lack. And yet I find so many people allowing, and even blessing, these things to stay in their life because they receive it as hardship and suffering. 

This is not the kind of suffering or hardship that is promised to us. We know He didn’t promise these things because He actually promises the opposite. He promises divine health, peace, a sound mind, freedom, abundance, and life in its fullness!

So when God says suffering and hardship will come our way, what are we to expect?

The hard things that we are called to deal with all pertain to victory and the discovery of our true self. It is incredibly hard and painful at times to discover and undo destructive habits in our lives. The work He does on our hearts is a lot like gardening where pruning and even uprooting need to happen. This "hardship" is one that leads to health, victory, and growth.

Persecution for our friendship and openness with Jesus is another legitimate source of “hardship.” (Not just some disagreement from fellow church members over a theological argument your having but legitimate persecution.)

When there is pain in your life from either of these two avenues, this is the type of pain that we shouldn’t run from but rather embrace and bless. It is this type of hardship that brings about lasting change in us and others. 

So as we kick off 2018 take a quick moment to ask yourself, “what types of “hard” am I allowing to be present in my life?” Are they the types of “hardship” that God promises or are they they types of “hard” that you are supposed to have dominion over?

Don't settle for allowing the things in your life that He did not promise. Choose to life this year in alignment with the promise of God for fullness, health, abundance, joy, connection, love, and life. And be willing to let Him walk and tend freely to the garden of your heart in anyway He chooses!