The Hardest Roads Lead Heavenward

 

redcanyon

Red Canyon…one of my favorite “big” spots in Wyoming.

I tell people often that one of the reasons I love living in Wyoming is the sheer bigness of it. Big sky, big mountains, wide expanses of prairie and high desert, and the vastness of the night sky, with the Big Dipper always there where it should be. I like that bigness because it reminds me that I am small. The world, and my own heart, are continually attempting to convince me otherwise.

Friend, do you realize that the hard things we go through are partly meant to accomplish that same thing? Remind us of our smallness, our finite-ness. We are not “all that” and we do not have all the answers. The hard road, the tough going journey, it forces the humbled heart to thrust a desperate hand heavenward for help. When we become aware that we are needy, then God works everything for good...that is, to be like Jesus (if we keep that often misused verse in context).

Good things can come from hard things. One of the best things that can be a result is that we become comfortable with leaning harder on God and less upon people. People can be fickle and biased. They may not always tell us exactly the truth we need to hear. God IS truth. The same luxurious, no-strings-attached love He loved us with at our salvation continues burning bright days, weeks, months, years later. To be dropped into a situation which forces me to rejoice more in this is excellent for my heart, even though the process may be painful.

We are not alone. We have Jesus before the throne–our Savior who has known excruciating pain, aching separation, heart-rending judgement and perplexing misunderstanding. He’s there, with all that back story, pleading in the most knowledgeable way anyone ever could, for you and me.

If you have visited this blog very often, you know I love old hymn books and texts. And they come flooding over me as I write this:

Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares–His heart is touched with my grief…Constantly abiding, Jesus is mine…He never leaves me lonely, whispers oh so kind, I will never leave thee…All the way my Savior leads me, cheers each winding path I tread, gives me grace for every trial…No, never alone! No, never alone! Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold, Threaten the soul with infinite loss; Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold, Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

I could go on and on. So many of those texts sprang from the ashes of great weakness and heaviness. Victorious words.

I have told each of our kids on various occasions that trials are meant to be stepping stones to lift us higher. He never means for us to be crushed, but there are times He needs to break our will. Our Savior faced the question…why shouldn’t we be put in circumstances which also test the genuineness of our profession? We have no idea what the observable courage of our “stepping stone” experience might do for an onlooker who is grappling with doubts about whether God is really enough. There is a rest and sweetness in knowing we can trust Him even in overwhelming, inexplicable circumstances. But we don’t trust anyone we don’t know, especially with very personal, costly, or tender things.

So, here’s the question for the day: Do you trust Him? Read His letter to you. In its pages you’ll see occasion after occasion where human beings have encountered hard things. By design, God has included these real-life accounts, because He knew life would be hard.  Joseph. Moses, David. Hannah. Naomi. Ruth. Jeremiah. Job. Paul. There are more. They are there to show us the way, to give us hope, to show us what it looks like to trust, and to reveal to us that our God is trustworthy.

God’s hand wrote your name in the Book of Life, if you know Him as Savior. The entirety of creation is the work of His fingers. With His mighty hand and outstretched arm He delivered the children of Israel. Reach for it. That same hand is upon you for good today as you seek Him.

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