The Value of Hard Places
7 Years…it was 7 long years. That was how long we walked in a place of lack in comparison to what we had experienced the last 7 years I was on active duty in the military. Lack may be a relative term to some, our bills were paid, we had cloth on our backs and food to eat.
We had grown use to a lifestyle of plenty. We had plenty of food, we drove nice vehicles and we could pretty much do what we wanted when it came to going out for a meal or taking in a show. Life as we knew it was good. When I retired from the military in 2004, we immediately needed $1000 a month to make ends meet. I was use to providing for our needs…I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.
Over the next 7 years, the Lord would teach me that He was my provider. Ministry partners would come and go. Work would come and go. Other than my family, the Lord was the only constant in our lives. I found I could rely on Him and His ways to make ends meet. Something very interesting happened along the way, our perspective changed.
What was important to us before, having all of those things the world says you need, seems silly now. We have a good reliable car and see no need to purchase a new one. Instead of buying the latest gadgets, we are grateful for what we have. We can once again go out to eat or take in a movie as we see fit. However, we only go on occasion. When we do, it really is a treat.
If you find yourself in a hard place today, embrace it and ask the Lord what He would have you learn. Perhaps He wants you to see life differently and return to an attitude of gratitude.
The Value of Hard Places
by Os Hillman
“So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:12
Being forced into hard places gives us a whole new perspective on life. Things we once valued no longer hold the same value. Small things become big things, and what we once thought big no longer holds such importance.
These hard places allow us to identify with the sufferings of others. It keeps us from having a shallow view of the hardships of others and allows us to truly identify with them. Those who speak of such trials from no experience often judge others who have had such hardship. It is a superficiality of Christian experience that often permeates shallow believers.
Those who have walked in hard places immediately have a kinship with others who have walked there also. They do not need to explain; they merely look at one another with mutual respect and admiration for their common experience. They know that death has worked a special thing in them. This death leads to life in others because of the hard places God has taken them through.
It is impossible to appreciate any valley experience while you are in it. However, once you have reached the top of the mountain, you are able to appreciate what terrain you have passed through. You marvel at what you were able to walk through. The valley of the shadow of death has yielded more than you ever thought possible. You are able to appreciate the beauty of the experience and lay aside the sorrow and pain it may have produced.
Death works in you for a greater purpose. If you are there today, be assured that God is producing something of much greater value than you will ever know.