It seems that every segment of life has its ups and downs. When we were little children, the hardship we encountered happened when someone took our toy away from us, or when we couldn’t have the ice cream that our mouths drooled for. We grew out of playing with toys, but relationships with the opposite sex caused us to spend hours upon hours thinking of the way we would ask that special someone on our first date. Little did we know that hardships would come when they wrote a “Dear Jim” letter to us and read it to our face just before they walked out of the Cantina.
The hardships seemed to get bigger as we found out that jobs we wanted were snatched up by someone more qualified than we were and were devastated by the “better luck next time” thoughts. Growing into adulthood had its ups and downs, but the downs in life have more ramifications and pain attached to them as we journey through life. We have a choice on whether to focus on the downs that come our way or focus on the positive aspects. Whether we are a child, or a teenager, or have reached the adult life, hardships come and hardships will go.
I was reading in Deuteronomy where the nation of Israel was on a journey and began focusing on the hardships they were encountering. “Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.” Numbers 11:1 NIV They had escaped from Egypt and had been wondering in the wilderness for about 1 1/2 years when God lead them to the promised land He wanted them to enter. They probably complained about the mana they ate everyday for the last 1 1/2 years. Thinking about it, if I had to eat the same food every day, for over a year, I might find myself in their shoes unfortunately. Mana every day. Nothing else but mana. The people complained about their hardships.
It’s easy to focus on the negative of life rather than focus on what’s positive. The people took the easy way and looked at what they didn’t have, rather than what they had. God’s perspective when we encounter difficulties and hardships of life is to focus on what’s positive. In Phil 4:8-9, Paul says, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”
On this journey, there will always be hardships and those hardships will become more and more difficult to deal with. In the midst of our journey, we have a choice of whether we focus on the hardships, or put our focus on those things that are true, and right, and lovely, and excellent and worthy of praise. It’s our perspective that determines our focus.