seven bits of truth for hard times

Seven Truths You Need to Thrive in Hard Times

Those who’ve read my blog since it first began in September 2013 know I like to write about my daily experiences, especially if they’re funny and I can teach a little lesson from them. Lately, I have few stories worth sharing. Who wants to read about getting my cornea checked? Or worse – putting steroid drops in your eye? I don’t even want to do it, much less write about it.

No-glaucoma gladness

Every time I go to the ophthalmologist, they check me for glaucoma. I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate that test, but it’s not as bad as it used to be. I remember when the pressure gauge looked a lot like a tiny metal space ship coming in for a landing on your eye. When the legs approached to land on my cornea, my heart started pounding.

I wanted to be an astronaut, not a landing zone.

Once, when I was a good bit younger than I am now, I fainted in the chair just as the glaucoma-ship made a landing on my eye. There was a lot of excitement in the doctor’s office that day. It was a while before they checked my pressure again.

Lessons learned from the trial

Quite a few people have asked me the same question. “What have you learned from this eye experience?” In addition to the good news that they don’t land spaceships on your eye anymore, I’ve learned quite a bit, most of it from the truths of God’s Word.

1. I’m tougher than I look, but only because of Jesus in me.

My eye hurt a lot at first, and the anti-viral medicine made me feel terrible. Regardless, I continued to care for animals, home, and property, in addition to ministry responsibilities. Occasionally, I sat down in the clover outside the barn and wept, but I claimed James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial,” got back up and kept going.

2. I’m not as tough as I thought I was, but I’m not my own power source. It’s Christ.

When the anti-viral peaks and the side effects start, it slows me down. Sometimes, it stops me in my tracks. One day, I went to bed right after lunch because I was afraid I’d fall down if I didn’t. Quite a few days, I was in bed before sundown. Some days, I felt too dizzy to keep going and the side effects exceeded even my ability to stay upright. On those days, I cling to Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” I pull out my computer and write from my bed. I may not write as much, nor as well, but I continue to try. (Note: The dizziness is a side-effect and not permanent, but very aggravating. Praise God, I’m either getting used to it or it’s getting better.)

3. Vision is precious.

It’s both appropriate and acceptable to care for your eyesight. No one-pill-and-you’re-done option exists to treat this viral infection. It’s taken months, and I’m not through yet.

The eyes of my heart, though, are more important than my eyesight and considerably more fragile. Even if I lost my eyesight, God would make a way through. Without heart-vision, I’d be sunk. “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” is more true to me today than ever before. (Prov. 29:18)

4. Rest when we’re tired is God’s plan.

When I refuse to stop, I’m fighting the stated will of God. Not a good idea. This time, I’ve rested and I haven’t felt guilty about it. (Exodus 23:12)

5. God still answers prayer.

In obedience to James 5 (if you’re sick, call for the elders…) I asked the elders at my church to pray for me and anoint me with oil. On both occasions, my vision returned to baseline, even though the infection was ongoing. Hundreds of people have prayed for me and my eye has improved faster than anticipated.

6. Healing takes more time than we want. 

When my doctor said the treatment would take a year, I nearly despaired until I remembered an important truth. As believers in Jesus, we don’t operate on the world’s timetable. We function from the standpoint of eternity. A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, but a thousand years is like a day. What’s a year in the big scheme of eternity? Just a blink of an eye.

7. Scripture memorization is critical preparation for hard times.

There were days when eye pain made reading impossible. During those times, I recited the Scripture I’d memorized and it sustained me. I’m infinitely grateful for the passages I’ve committed to memory and even more grateful for the way God brings them to mind when I need them.

It’s not over yet.

I write as if I’m finished with this trial, but I’m not. Several more months of treatment await me. I’m writing now because I want to press one point. I’m living all I’ve taught, and the truth has done what I said it would do because it was God who said it first.

Scripture is jam-packed with truths we can use to do more than survive the toughest of times. We can thrive, if we will. Scripture tells us He will never leave us nor forsake us, and He hasn’t. It says He will be my strength, and He has been. The instructions to call for the elders brought the result Scripture says it will bring. It didn’t look like I expected, but my vision was still healed.

Standing on solid ground

The solid ground of God’s word is a rock on which we can stake our lives. The last few months have proved that over and over again. It’s true in my life, and it will be true in yours. No matter what we face, God is still God and His word is still true.

If you’re not in a hard time yet, prepare for what’s ahead by storing Scripture in your heart. Memorize as much as possible. Those words are like tiny life-rafts to which you can hold when you need them most.

Are you in the midst of a hard time? Take hope and allow God to sustain you and carry you through. Cling to His word. Hold tight to His promises and the truths they contain.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

You might also enjoy reading:

When the Hand of God Restored My Hope

When Three Flat Tires Reminded Me of the Words of Life

When God Speaks Through the Power of Scripture

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