When Hardship Hits The Palace

Hardship is sometimes an un-welcome visitor. However, your perspective on hardship could change the way you see it. Understanding free will, and, having patience are game-changers in hardship.

I have recently experienced the death of my wife. Sickness came and went and came again. It has no favorites. It falls on the just and the unjust. As I have walked through the toughest year of my life, hardship began to create purpose in me. This purpose rose out of the worst time in our life and is guiding me along the way. And if you are careful, you can see the same purpose rise out of your situation.

Immune From Hardship?

A thorough look at culture and scripture will prove that God often uses hardship to produce in us righteousness. And right about now I know you are thinking that you aren't interested in righteousness if that is the route. But, He is sovereign to be present in both the hardship and our response. Nothing is too difficult for Him. And nothing is outside of His power.

And because of this, if we are not careful, we can become entitled to blessings and comfort as the way to spiritual maturity. Simply because we deserve it. Many of us think that we are immune to difficulty. Immune because we are Christians or because God will rescue us and save us from hardship.

Here are two thoughts when Hardship Hits The Palace.

I Am Not A Robot

Free will (mine and other people) is a remarkable thing. It humanizes us when we start to think too highly of ourselves. It takes the pressure off thinking that God has caused everything.

We must see in scripture that God uses hardship and difficulty for many reasons. Whether to bring glory to His name, to get our or others attention, or even to step in when hardship happens in our life outside of His doing. That's a thought now, huh? When things happen we often look for a reason. Maybe the reason is simply that life happens. And God had nothing to do with the happening. But He wants to have everything to do with the outcome. That something comes into our life God did not send. That, upon seeing this, He will then step in and be with us in the matter. We are not robots or puppets.

Know that you will experience free will. Yours and others. But that God will mix His will into the matter also.

Through A Glass Dimly

Patience. We are all going to see hardship. It's inevitable. But, time and understanding heal. Years ago I read a pamphlet from Book of Hope called My Broken Palace. The idea behind the pamphlet was simple. We often portray our lives as perfect castles and ornate palaces. Without corruption or blemish. When, in reality, we are really broken. I see it all the time in America. A machismo that says, "I'm okay, you're okay." Pop psychology that cannot deal with the reality of suffering.

Among so many other references and texts in the Bible, the Book of Job, Isaiah 43.1-3, 2 Corinthians 4 and 11, and Hebrews 12, each detail the reality of suffering. These are great words of wisdom on the subject. But, to sit at the table with Job and Paul someday will be the greatest lesson of all.

For now, we see through a glass dimly. But then face to face. So hang on. You may not know why now. But, then again, when you get 'there', you may not need to know.

Here is a Spoken Word that I have been writing through this past year...

 My Broken Palace.
See, in America we all live in A Broken Palace. A place for beauty AND beast. Of more AND least. Where Princes and Princesses, Kings and Queens – Where Dragons and Jesters all meet.
 My Broken Palace.
Where a frog is turned into a Prince. Where Princesses find slippers and Princes to marry forever after. Well, that’s how the story goes.
My Broken Palace.
You know how the story goes. We write new scenes to introduce old lives. We cover rusted gates with paint. We fix broken arms with band-aids. We beautify pigs with dresses. But, you know, they are still rusted gates, broken arms, and ugly pigs.
My Broken Palace. 
Where Rapunzel wonders what it’s really like outside the castle. Letting down her hair for a Prince to rescue her from her despair. It may look like a castle but nobody sees the hassle. The struggle. The tussle. Of you and me.
     It may look like a Palace but nobody sees the malice. The loss. Or the dross. Cuz we all live behind the mote and the wall. Behind the shrubs and the façade of it all. It’s not what it seems. The marquee isn’t saying whose really playin’. Not for real. Surreal. 

My Broken Palace
We sweep our brokenness under the rug or put it in the closet or say we don’t really have it. We ignore what we know is there for all to see.  
That we hate ourselves. And each other. And the weather. Get upset with our neighbor – or a brother. We tell each other you’re a bother – our parents to shut up – Cuz we’re fed up. And sweep our brokenness under the rug and keep it in the closet.
My Broken Palace.
Since hardship and trial are part of Christianity and Scripture, why are we so upset about hardship and trial in Christians and Culture? We act like it shouldn’t touch us, it shouldn’t be us. Not in the US. And not in my Palace. But if you miss this and don't catch this or see this - you may have to learn this the hard way and not His way.

My Broken Palace.
But, this mansion, our bastion of hope and ultimate future, is where the pain becomes His platform. Where the mess becomes His message. Where the chaos is placed on His canvass. Where the hurt is a help. And where sticks and stones are used to build houses and homes. Where the tragedy becomes His triumph.

The place we call home is beautifully broken and we are ok with that. Because it is where Kings return to rule. To birth Princes and Princesses - who slay dragons.