This Is Going to Sound Really Dumb, But Hear Me Out.
The reason why difficult, hard, painful and challenging times are so hard is because they are difficult, hard, painful and challenging. Let’s face it, if difficult times were easy to get through they actually wouldn’t be hard. The very point of the pain is the fact that it is painful! So, how was that at being circular and obscure?
We all have gone through difficult times. Times that we have wished would go away. Times that we didn’t want and tried to avoid, but we couldn’t get away from. The pain, fear, frustration and discouragement were real and no matter what we did when we woke up in the morning it was still there. Let’s face it, no one, except for maybe a true masochist likes tough times.
We see this played out daily on social media. People are going through this tough time and are doing everything they can to deal with it. Some people are posting words of encouragement. Others post really humorous stuff – my favorite. Some people rant in healthy ways. Others just blame and accuse. Still others engage in misinformation, while others espouse what they believe to be truth. Some people look for facts and data and others just want a really good fantasy, or lie. We all deal with adversity differently.
We are coming up to one of the most important times in the Christian calendar – the Easter Season. One of the most important dates in that calendar is Good Friday. Those of you who are familiar with the events of that day certainly don’t miss the irony of calling it Good Friday. The name obviously came well after the event, because Good Friday was hardly good for anyone involved. Jesus was beaten tortured and crucified to death. The disciples, who just days earlier got to participate in a triumphal parade were now leaderless. Pilate knew he had sent an innocent man to death, and maybe worse knew his wife was going to say, “I told you so!” The crowd, who thought Jesus was going to bring in a new kingdom, were now the ones calling for his death. Even the religious leaders suffered divisions in their ranks and their precious temple got wrecked. I just can’t see the disciples that evening, cowering in hiding saying, “Hey, lets call this Good Friday!”
Jesus knew what was coming. He knew that he had to go through it, but he was not thrilled about it. Part of his discussion with God the night before was about trying to avoid what was inevitable. And, I think that is what we need to understand about tough times. They are inevitable. Its what you do with them that makes the difference.
The tough times are often out of our control, much like the COVD-19 pandemic. What is within our control is how we ride it out. Now let me be really clear here. A tough, difficult, painful time is tough precisely because of the challenge that it brings. If we went through these times whistling a happy tune, then they really weren’t all that difficult. It is precisely the angst and challenge of it, that defines it as a tough time.
I’m not saying that we should give into the despair, but don’t think that you can have pain free pain. One of the great lies of the prenatal classes that my wife Mary and I went through was their use of words like discomfort instead of pain to describe labour. We shouldn’t try in minimize the situation. That’s just some kind of form of denial. We need to walk through it, using the tools available to us to deal with it – truth, humour, encouragement, friendship, a good rant. And, most importantly know, that this too will pass. Good Friday was not good, but the results were.
February 18, 2021
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