Hard is not Bad

In a few weeks, many of us will be sitting on couches after eating way too much at Thanksgiving dinner. And if I were joining you on that couch, catching some American football, as you’d complain of how stuffed you feel, I’d say something like this:

“You know what they say about eating? No pain, no gain.”

And then (at least) I’d laugh.

It’s a twist on the classic phrase typically used to encourage someone enduring a hard workout or sticking to a consistent exercise regimen not to eat until it hurts. (Hence the humor.)

One of the core values of our world system is the avoidance of anything hard.  We see it in the convenience and commoditization of everything. We see its effects when we try to fit into our clothing. We see it in our shallow relationships that avoid certain topics. We see it with our obsession to be entertained all the time.

That value has snuck into the Church and onto our worship teams.

The internet shared this quote with me the other day:

“Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard.

Obesity is hard. Being fit is hard. Choose your hard.

Being in debt is hard. Being financially disciplined is hard. Choose your hard.

Communication is hard. Not communicating is hard. Choose your hard.

Life will never be easy. It will always be hard. But we can choose our hard. Pick wisely.” - Devon Brough

Here’s an adaptation for worship teams:

Depending on the Lord is hard. Depending on yourself is hard. Choose your hard.

Staying on the click is hard. Making the song fit your strumming pattern is hard. Choose your hard.

Planning is hard. Last minute is hard. Choose your hard.

Having excellence standards is hard. Willy-nilly is hard. Choose your hard.

Asking for what you need is hard. Stuffing it is hard. Choose your hard.

Walking in love is hard. Walking in unforgiveness is hard. Choose your hard.

That’s fun and all, but let’s listen to the different narrative in scripture for how to deal with hard things.

“Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:3

“Establishing and strengthening the souls and the hearts of the disciples, urging and warning and encouraging them to stand firm in the faith, and telling them that it is through many hardships and tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Romans 8:35

“Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses…(the list goes on!)” 2 Corinthians 6:4

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

“But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.” Hebrews 12:7-8

The LORD knows our life will be hard. He already prepared His provision for us in hard things.

So today, as we face the hard, Father, help us to look to You. Help us not complain. We receive Your strength. We share in the fellowship of Your suffering and know Your nearness in it. Empower us with Your love. Amen!