Blog, Living in the Abundance of Christ

Doing Good in the Hard Season

As I stand in line, waiting my turn, “Don’t do it!” I tell myself without a word. I press my lips together firmly. Again and again I do this, as if this act will keep the tears from falling. I feel the lump in the back of my throat, and a tear threatens to pass from the surface of my eye. I will myself not to cry, because once it starts I won’t be able to contain it, to stop it. This is the kind of cry where sobs come, and they don’t leave until they’re done.

“Now’s not the time”, I think to myself. It never is. I try and think on any other thing, and not this one hard thing, but this hard thing is huge and affects everything else. I manage to let other thoughts take over. The tears are kept away, for now. I hate crying in public; I don’t like being a spectacle. I’m relieved for a little while, until I remember it again; there’s been no resolution.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

It seems easier, after coming through a hard season, to share with clarity and a sense of assurance. You’ve battled and won, you’ve overcome, you’ve made it through, and now you’re wiser; kinder. Things have settled. There’s not a lot of loose ends. You feel peaceful and calm. You can speak with confidence and give someone else hope. It’s a wonderful season to be in.

But what about when you’re not in the good season? When you’re in a hard, refining season. When every single day and every single thing feels like a challenge. When it feels like the whole world is against you, and that no one cares for your soul (Psalm 142:4). When your frequent prayer is “I don’t think I can do this,” and “I can’t do this, Lord.” In this hard place, things aren’t clear, I don’t know the next step, or if I can take a step, and expressing thoughts is a struggle because my feelings are jumbled. Is any thing I have to share, in the middle of this mess, helpful? Is it as valid as when I have peace all around me and a firm grasp on my emotions? Can I minister to others in the midst of suffering? Can you? Yes.

Yes.

Whether in a season of peace or a season of chaos, I can and should minister to others, because God remains the same. By minister I mean, to attend to the needs of someone. If we are Christians then we are called to minister to others right where we’re at. Sometimes this is focused solely on our families, often this is expanded to others. These are things that have been helpful to me in this current season:

  • The way I minister to others will look different in each season of life. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10
  • I can’t do it, but he can. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • God cares for my soul, even if no one else does. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
  • I am to do good. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
  • He rewards those who seek him. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

During these seasons, I need to focus on staying in the present, staying in God’s Word, and not worrying about tomorrow (Matt 6:34). I need to take proper care of myself (good food, rest, and stress management), and continue to love others however I am able. I need to keep watch over my feelings and emotions, bringing my thoughts in obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). And pray that in all things I will honor him (Luke 10:27), even when it’s hard; especially when it’s hard. He will help me (Hebrews 13:6).

Leave a Reply