You Can Do Hard Things

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 11-13

When I first met my friend Rudi, she was a freshman at UT and terrified of one class in particular: public speaking. Our weekly small group meetings were a chance for us to talk about the fear and pray, and over that semester, we celebrated little victories (less anxiety) and bigger ones (Rudi feeling God with her while she gave her speeches, finishing the class, etc.). Looking back, it feels like such a small thing, but in the moment, it was a major victory for her.

I’m still walking with Rudi five years later, and God has continued to meet with her through seasons of family struggles, chronic migraines, job hunting, and more. He’s walked with me through seasons of tight finances, family drama, pregnancy, and so much more. In the midst of the hard things in both of our lives, there has been so much goodness, adventure, and joy, but looking at our lives as a timeline, it’s most comforting to me to see God in the hard situations.

God moves with us through one hard thing into another. For so long, I blamed God when I had to go through challenging things. I’d look up to the sky and say in my heart (or out loud), “God, You could stop this any time. Why aren’t You helping me?” But lately, I’ve been realizing that it’s not God punishing me when work is stressful or sad things happen; it’s just life. And living in a fallen world means things are hard and not as they were originally meant to be.

And the truth I’m learning in that realization is that God, rather than standing idly by while I struggle, is with me, walking alongside me, helping me each step of the way. He might not swoop in and rescue me; my problems might not magically disappear the moment I say a prayer, but He’s in all things with me, giving me the strength I need for that day, and promising to be with me and give me what I need each day that follows.

Whatever hard thing you’re walking through today, remember that God loves you, He is with you, and He is able to give you the strength you need for your particular circumstance. Lean on Him, our Good Father, the Shepherd of our souls.

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