There is a lot written about how to get through difficult moments in our lives, but there seems to be little written about what we do when the difficulty finally passes. I recently read a book by a pro-cyclist, detailing his journey from amateur to pro. His path was filled with difficulty: brutal workouts, getting fired from teams, working for $2,000 a year (necessitating living out of his car), his father developing terminal cancer, and dozens of bike crashes so harrowing that reading about them made me queasy. Throughout it all he had to make choices. He could give up, he could constantly lament his situation, or he could put his head down and work as hard as possible so he could thrive once the difficulties passed. He chose to keep striving, and when the difficulties passed he thrived at an incredibly high level, becoming a top-level pro-cyclist. Here’s the big question. Will YOU be ready to thrive for God when the difficulty in your life passes? The answer is often no. We often get so lost in our difficulties that we fail to continue growing in our faith during those periods. Instead of getting stronger and better, we get weaker. We may GET THROUGH the difficulty, but we’re not ready to THRIVE when it passes.
Look at this story of Elijah and the Israelites. The land had been suffering a horrendous drought, and people were suffering in numerous ways. After all of this difficulty the following finally happens:
“Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” 1 Kings 18:44
After all the difficulties the thing Elijah and the people had been waiting for was finally on its way. I absolutely love the excitement we see from him: And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. 1 Kings 18:46
Elijah was so excited and ready for the rain that he, a relatively old man, hikes up his robe and runs faster then the King’s chariot for a distance equal to a half-marathon. Here’s the question: what are you doing in times of difficulty so you are ready to out run the chariot? In other words, what are you doing when life is tough to connect to God, grow in your faith, and to prepare to serve Him? To not just survive difficulty, but to be ready to thrive for God? Don’t let moments of difficulty take you out of fulling serving God long after the difficulty passes.