At the moment, my Going has gotten Tough. I’ve been struggling with a situation that I need to handle, and soon, with no direction, and no peace about it. A month or two ago, I obtained a booklet from RBC Ministries (rbc.org), written by Joe Stowell, a past president of Moody Bible Institute, titled “When the Going Gets Tough.” (http://www.dhp.org/Products/When-the-Going-Gets-Tough__BH201.aspx) There has been a lot written on this topic, but since it is personally applicable to me at the moment, I decided to sit down and read the first chapter.
Mr. Stowell begins by pointing out some important things about tough times. First, he says, we must understand that our difficult times are not random, and God has not abandoned us to whatever happens to come along, but rather provides support and “something solid to hold on to” until the roller coaster ride is over.
The second main point is that we need to do two things: understand what’s happening, and then begin healing. And it’s on the first part, understanding, that Mr. Stowell expounds in this chapter. He explains that the Greek word for trial means “to examine or test for the purpose of proving or revealing something about the thing tested.”
Aha… It’s when we have trouble that our true character is being exposed in the way we act and react. Our character is also being examined, certainly by God, but hopefully by us as well, as part of the process of growing. We get an opportunity to see how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go. Am I behaving in a Christ-like way? Just how selfish am I? Am I forgiving? Manipulative?
It never occurred to me that difficult times might be a yardstick, in a sense. It’s like an algebra test in high school, only on a much bigger scale. This test is something I’ve been studying and practicing for, and here’s my opportunity to get a grade that’s pleasing to God.
This has been very helpful in making a Plan of Action for my current situation. I know exactly what to do, and if it gets me into hot water, which it might, I also know exactly what to do. The experience still won’t be pleasant, but is made much more do-able knowing that God is watching, and that this test is of His design.