“Just Be Tough”
We are not the sum-total of our circumstances. We get to decide whether or not we are greater than our circumstances. They can make us, shape us, or break us. The fight is real. Life can be tough, but we can be tougher.
When I say we can be tougher, I do not mean that we can just knuckle down, grit our teeth, pin back our ears, and fight our way through. That will only last for a little while. No one is so tough that they can endure the circumstances of life that way. Don’t tell the parent who has lost a child, “Just be tough.” Don’t tell a child who has lost a parent, “Be tough.” Don’t tell a husband and father who has lost his job, “Just be strong.” Don’t tell the parent who is struggling with a child on drugs or involved in promiscuity, “Just be tough.” None of those work, at least not for very long.
So, when I say we can be tougher than our circumstances, it is because we have One greater than our circumstances on our side. We have One greater than our circumstances directing and guiding us. We have God! God is bigger and greater than our circumstances. So how does He help us?
First, He has spoken to us. He has given us His word. In His word we learn who He is. We learn of His mercy, His tenderness, and, yes, His justice. In His word He has given us boundaries. No one feels safe and secure who wonders in the wide open and gets lost. Man needs and wants boundaries. His mercy, love, and justice provide those for us. We need the boundaries of one man and one woman for life. We need the boundaries created when children honor and obey their parents. We need the boundaries for moral and ethical demands. His word provides instruction for all of those. In His word is where freedom is found. Living outside of God is license. “The truth will set us free” is applied to more than the saving Gospel. Truth will set us free from whatever bondage we find ourselves involved in.
Second, we can speak to Him. Prayer is being able to express our hearts desire to Him. We have the wonderful privilege of bringing every care about every circumstance and laying it at His feet. We lay every burden down. We have the openness with our Father to share our frustration, hurt, disappointment, and, yes, even our joy with Him. We have no need to fret or be anxious. We can take everything to God in prayer.
Third, God gave us the local church. The local church is more than just people. It is a group of special people. The church is people who have been saved by grace; people who love the Lord and each other; people who reach out and care and sacrifice for one another. Oh, we may have our spits and spats, but just let one of us hurt or be found in need and watch the generous spirit abound. We need each other so badly. We can make or break one another.
So see it is not “Just be tough.” It is using God, prayer, and one another that enables us to be more than the sum-total of our circumstances. Listen, I can only be the best I can be. You too! Let God take care of the rest. That is more than enough!