Hope when it’s Hard

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Every family is currently dealing with grave hardships. Some are easily spotted in loss of finances or health. Others reach deeper because of trauma and grief, but the evil one is certainly on the move among God’s people. As we war against the enemy, how can we be encouraged to see these difficulties as the Father does?

It’s all a matter of shifted perspective.

We want to be a survivor but dread the process. For most of us, passing through a crisis is little desired. Most of our crisis prayers are merely cries to escape discomfort. We say we want to know Him but then complain about the process that takes us there (Romans 5:3). Only the testing of our faith produces the endurance necessary to fully understand Him (James 1:3).

Think about it. Faith is only a theory unless tested. A theoretical belief doesn’t qualify as faith at all. By divine design, the syllabus of your class on faith necessitates a lab.

Where better to begin but the orchard?

Mature fruit only comes through faith and perseverance. Peaches may be picked green and laid out to soften, but it doesn’t compare to a tree-ripened freestone in sweetness. There is a direct correlation between time on the vine and optimum flavor in any fruit.

So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing (James 1:4 NLT).”

Could this be why our patience is so short-lived? Why the joy in our hearts is so quickly doused? We seldom leave the fruit on the tree to ripen naturally. Instead, when our desperate situation begins to resemble the likeness of any virtue, we pluck it out of God’s hand. We are so ready to get over it that we do not allow endurance its sweetening effect.

For love to ripen and kindness to drip sweetness, we must keep our hands off the fruit. Apart from Him, these virtues remain only a deceiving form of the intended outcome. They are only store-bought produce.

Take your hand off the situation, as it’s not ready yet. Mature spiritual fruit will drop to your feet when ripe. And when fully ripe, it will burst with the healthy seeds for another generation. Until then, live in Him. Make your home in Him just as He does in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by joining the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you unite with Jesus (adapted from John 15:4 The Message).