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How to keep hard times from causing scars

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Jennifer Hubbard - published on 09/15/23

A friend could see my heart was at risk of being hardened by the harshness of this world. 

I could hardly believe what I was reading. Actually, I should rephrase: My mind could hardly believe it. My heart, well, that’s another story. My heart seemed to sigh in relief as the truth of understanding had grabbed a foothold in my mind.  

It was a time when it seemed my life could be summed up as trial upon trial. The description I used often was, “I feel like I am climbing a mountain in a mudslide.” Over a span of two years, so many were the obstacles that a friend forewarned, “Do not allow this season to scar you.” He was concerned my battle stance would become a permanent posture and I would not be open to the joy he assured was coming. I realize now: He could see my heart was at risk of being hardened by the harshness of this world. 

Sadly, I had already started to pitch a tent in the land of skeptics. In this time of confusion and chaos, I struggled with the why of it all. I was sure I was following the will of my Lord, and yet everything seemed to prevent me from reaching the mountain peak. It was like, well, climbing a mountain in a mudslide. I was frustrated, threadbare, worn, and running on fumes. Sleep stung and food revolted.  

When the graces he assured would come came, I was so busy bracing for the backlash that I was convinced was coming down the road, I failed to see the respite they offered in the moment.

So, there I was, in the breaking day, when, leaning into His Word, my head and heart aligned. The Israelites were going to battle and seeking instruction. God’s exact words were, “Judah shall go first.” Judah was footnoted: “derived from Hebrew, meaning praise.” I read it twice; both times my mind asked, “Seriously?” My heart responded, “Amen.”  

Praise was to go first. When I was wincing, convinced there would be another battle, I left no room for praise. With no room to proclaim it, I was not poised to receive it. 

Battles on this earth will always ensue; illness will weaken, hunger will starve, and loss will cause unbearable grief. And still, Judah must go first. It must. It was what the Israelites were instructed and what was taught to us as by our Savior. Eyes to the heavens before each miracle, before the breaking of bread and his body, Jesus sent Judah first. 


This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.

The Human Being Fully Alive
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