Perspective on Hardship

I do not like years that end in zero.

It’s not a numerology thing, so don’t be worried. It just seems that years which have ended in zero have amplified the current cry of “How long, O Lord, how long?”

Our voices cry out and join with the voices under the altar. They echo the prophet Habakkuk’s cries. They are filled with lament just as are many of King David’s psalms. Other people throughout the Old Testament and throughout time in general have cried out to the Lord, “How long, O Lord, how long?”

The year 2010 was extremely difficult for our family. We went through hardship after hardship. I was called “Mrs. Job.” I was asked, “What did you do to offend the gods?” “Has God deserted you?”

Everyone reading this has had, or will have, their share of suffering. It is part of life. No one escapes it. But our perspective and how we handle the hard times can be a great opportunity to say, “Jesus is our Hope, our Peace, our Anchor.”

When I see the huge amounts of suffering some people are going through (fires, earthquakes, loss of health and finances, etc.) and feel so inadequate to help, my sweet husband says, “Sometimes you just have to sit down in the mud with them.”  How wise – IF we have the right perspective that Jesus is our only Hope.

Our world thrives on pain, suffering, and evil behavior. Look at the headlines or talk with people and you hear stories of sickness and disease, loss and devastation, wars and rumors of war. Matthew 24:5-8 says we are in birth pains. Even the earth and the cosmos seem to be shouting out, “How long, O Lord, how long?”

Our perspective on hardship depends on our focus. While the fires were raging and heavy smoke was blowing over us, our perspective on daytime hours changed: on some days, noon looked like night. We can have that perspective with hardships in our life. We can feel that day has suddenly changed to night. However, there is One who can pull us out of the night and the miry pit of mud and into the brightness of himself. His name is Jesus.

If you are stuck in the mud, reach out your hand to Jesus. He will grab it and help you flee despair. Soak in his word and his promises. He can immediately change the winds in our life and make the “night-time noon” change to a bright day as we let his promises infuse hope into our circumstances. His Holy Spirit will whisper reminders that …

1.  This, too, shall pass. This life is not our final life. At some point, we will step into eternity. For those of us whose hope is Jesus, we no longer will experience life as it is, but rather, we will have life as God designed it to be: perfect fellowship with him and with one another and no pain or sorrow or separation from him or loved ones who also know Jesus as Savior.

2.  He never leaves or forsakes us – even in the pit of mud – even in the fire and the darkest “night” at noon. God’s love is forever and always, eternally present to all who fear him. He will make all things right for those who follow and obey him. He puts victims back on their feet (Psalm 103:6).

3.  He knows us inside and out and keeps in mind that we are but made of mud (Psalm 103:14). He gives us his Word and his Holy Spirit, our Comforter, to get us through.

4.  He redeems and heals. He forgives our sins, heals our diseases, redeems us from hell, crowns us with love and mercy, wraps us in goodness and renews our youth. He says all this in Psalm 103:3-5.

We all must suffer. Those of us who know Jesus may even suffer for his name’s sake. We are told that we will be hated because of him. Friends, this type of hardship may be extremely near on the horizon. For American Christians, the mud will get thicker. The “smoke” of our culture will get thicker. What can we do?  “How long, O Lord, how long?”

As he is working out his plans and purpose, and as we go through bewildering and painful times, we must exercise patience, knowing that in his loving kindness, he is waiting for all who will, to reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

So, as one who has been called “Mrs. Job,” I will not be moved. God is the Anchor of my soul, the One who can change the winds of my perspective when I think on him and the things that will be one day. I will trust him, and I encourage you to trust him. Allow him to blow his Holy Spirit, his ruach, into your life and let the smoke clouds disappear. His mighty hand is reaching out to you. Grab it! Meditate on what is yet to come! Share this excitement and hope with those around you in Jesus’ name and for his glory and praise.

Melinda moved to Colorado in 2016 with her husband Jeff and their three boys, Jeremy, Jason, and Jaxon. Minuet, their oldest child, lives in Maryland and is going to make Melinda and Jeff grandparents for the first time in October of this year! 

Three years prior to moving to Colorado, the Van Horns lived in an RV and travelled around the country as Jeff’s employment required. Before that, Melinda lived in Florida for 40 years, and earlier in her life she lived in Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa.
During her time in Florida, the Lord called her to attend Moody Bible Institute and then Dallas Theological Seminary where she earned her B.S. and M.B.S. in Biblical Studies, respectively.

Melinda homeschools her three boys and works part time as an optician. Women’s ministry, writing, and teaching are ways Melinda feels called to serve the Lord. All these avenues are mission fields in which she hopes to spread God’s love to all with whom she comes into contact. She hopes to glorify the Lord in all she says and does.