When Life is Too Tough

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by Linda Rex

I was reading a local paper today and noticed that one of the columns was an anonymous contribution in which the author memorialized a brother she had recently lost. She told stories of how her brother had quietly gone about helping her and helping others. It was obvious from what she had written that her brother had had a heart of gold.

I think sometimes we focus so much on what people say and do that we forget to look at their heart. A person’s heart may be in the right place, but all we can see is what they did or say that was wrong or hurtful. We take their words or efforts totally wrong and get offended or are hurt when really they never meant us any harm at all. In fact, they probably were probably clueless about having done or said anything amiss.

What can make a difference here is how well we know the person. How well we know them can determine how well we understand their motives and their heart. When we know someone really well and have seen over time that their heart toward us is good and that they only mean us well, then our response to them will mostly likely be positive and welcoming.

But if we really don’t know them to the point that we feel we can trust their heart toward us and that we’re pretty sure they only mean us well, we can become extremely self-protective and begin to impute false and hurtful motives or unjustly criticize their words and actions toward us.

When life gets tough and we aren’t receiving any positive answers to our prayers, it is easy to get in the frame of mind where we begin to question God’s motives, thinking he means us ill or doesn’t care about us at all. We question God’s heart—because we don’t know him well enough.

It takes time and effort to build a relationship with God. As we walk along life’s road with God we gain experience in recognizing God and seeing his heart towards us is always and ever good. We grow in our knowledge of God—not just about him, but knowing him as an intimate Father, Brother, Friend, and Companion.

It takes going through the ups and downs of life with God to help us to come to know him intimately, and to learn that his heart towards us is always and ever good. He never means us ill. Even when he has to deal with sin in our lives and life gets too tough, his love never fails.

It is God’s heart to draw us into intimate fellowship with him through Christ by the Spirit. God is working to eradicate or remove anything that may come between us and him, and to drive out the evil and sin that seeks to separate us from him. God will not stop until we truly know him for who he is—Love, a divine Love who is always looking out for our best interests. This is his heart toward us. We can trust him completely.

Dear God, thank you for being so gracious to us when we do not understand or recognize the love and tenderness that are in your heart toward us. Continue to draw us near to you that we might be transformed by your love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

“Then they will know that I am the LORD.” Ezekiel 29:6b, 9b, 16b, 21b. (NAS)