Enduring hardships.

“But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5

Enduring hardship, we have all most assuredly at one time or another asked how much weight we will be able to withstand before we crumble under the suffering that this world had dumped on us.  We all have different hardships as satan creates something special for each of us, knowing our weaknesses and finding ways to gnaw away at our patience.

While living in Haiti one hardship that continually gnawed away at me was walking with my artificial knees.  There were many times when I asked my Heavenly Father “Why me, why here, why now?” as my being there on a rocky steep slope seemed like such a cruel task.  The attached photo is one of those rocky paths.  This is the Haitian sidewalk that children take on their way to school at Chinchiron which is high on top of the mountain North of Arcahaie.  It is a rural school and most of the 164 children attending there walk for miles on paths such as this day after day, getting their education, Spiritual growth and a noon meal of beans and rice from Trinity/HOPE.

I made the trip to Chinchiron several times and always wondered how many children have walked this path over the years and where there feet have taken them while sharing the love of Christ with others in their families and neighborhoods.  How many feet tramping in the sand and rock did it take to make this defined pathway?  I also thought about the poem titled “Footprints in the sand” as I had that poster in my office.  Identifying with the verses of that poem was easy to do as I questioned my hardships from time to time…daily!  Here is the 1936 version from Mary Stevenson.  

“One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.  Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.  In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.  Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was only one.  This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord, “You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always.  But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.  Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”  The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

May the hardships along your journey be manageable and may you always be reminded of Who is with us, every day, and every step of the way.  Trust always in Him, just as the children walking ahead of you, beside you and behind in Haiti do every step of the way. 

Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Amen. 

May God be with you…Jay