Today I am blessed to share a guest post by David Ecrement. As you read his words of walking with the Lord during the hard times, I pray you will be encouraged and blessed.
The last 18 months have been some of the hardest of my adult life…and when recently verbalizing this reality to a friend, he responded by saying, “I’m so sorry.” I smiled and replied, “By saying it’s been ‘hard’, I didn’t necessarily mean ‘bad’.”
Somewhere along the line of our growing up into maturity (regardless of where you are on that timeline), many of us seem to have a something hard-wired into our DNA that causes us to assume that hard times, difficulties, etc…can be the result of ‘not living right’, or being outside of God’s will; and in those times, things aren’t “good”.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Thanks to Adam and Eve’s original sin in the garden of Eden, we’re essentially promised to have hard times…and to have to work “hard” all the days of our lives. [Genesis 3:17-19]
For some folks, working hard while doing something they love, may not ever seem like work at all. There’s a popular saying, “Do something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life!” For many of us, doing something we love doesn’t always translate into income or a means to ‘make a living.’ For others, it does. Sometimes what we ‘love’ to do ends up being a hobby or sport, and can be very important and fulfilling, but it may be in addition to our “job.”
My current story (in condensed form) as I cross the 50 year mark is this: I grew up with a lot of interests, ranging from music to sports. I did well in high school, went to a four-year college and obtained a degree…and also met my best friend and wife for life. After school, I moved to another part of the country to pursue one of my interests, music. After some varying degrees of success over a couple years, I moved into the business side of the music business and worked in that area for 15+ years. From there, I moved into a corporate job, and for nearly a decade, managed a team and some high-dollar budgets for a well-known company. Then, about 18 months ago, despite nearly ten years of positive results and glowing annual reviews, I was simply “down-sized”… laid off, let go….”position deleted” (you get the picture.)
As I celebrated my 50th birthday just a few days ago, a mile-marker for a lot of folks nearing the mid-to-later stages of their ‘life race’, I feel like I’m starting over. And it’s been hard. These last 18 months have been hard–but not necessarily “bad.”
Having to work hard, having a hard time—does not mean that God’s face is turned away from you. Consider these examples:
- Adam had to work the soil and toil hard the rest of his life (post Garden of Eden) but still had God’s favor and protection. [Genesis chapters 3-5]
- Joseph had a ridiculously hard life in his early years from being rejected by his brothers and unjustly thrown into a pit and prison; and yet, “God meant it for good.” [Genesis chapter 45]
- Out of all the 12 disciples, most were killed in gruesome ways, and yet they were who Jesus “chose”. There was no “pass” or “prosperity doctrine” that ruled their minds or lives.
Sometimes things don’t work out as we think or plan. That’s OK. God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence are things we will never–this side of heaven–ever be able to comprehend. His ways are not dependent on our circumstances or our understanding.
My wife and I had a dear friend, Cindy—actually my wife’s best friend of 20 years—who came down with lung cancer. After nine short months, despite the prayers and intercession of countless family members, friends and multiple churches…God decided that He wanted her in heaven more than we needed her here on earth.
In her last days, my wife spent a lot of time with her dear friend. On one visit, Cindy commented, “A lot of people have been asking me, ‘Aren’t you angry at God? Don’t you want to ask Him “why?”’ Without hesitation, she went on and answered her own question by saying, “Why not? Why not me?” Her point was, simply, God’s ways are so beyond what we can ask or imagine. And sometimes, just sometimes…what seems to be tragic and unfair (i.e. “hard”), might be exactly what God has designed and ordained. (Remember Joseph and Job in the Old Testament?)
The way Cindy lived—as she was dying—while it was so incredibly hard…was so incredibly good–for the kingdom. On the other side of her passing, her indelible mark with how she lived her last days during those nine months, could arguably outweigh every other positive impression she had made on this earth during her prior 50+ years.
So, my encouragement to you today (and to myself as I look in the mirror), is to remember this:
If what you’re currently going through in life is “hard”, remember that—in God’s economy and scale—it might not necessarily be bad.
Look beyond yourself. Keep your eyes and palms turned up. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.” Psalm 121:1-3
David is a husband of 27 years, father of two children, and companion of one amazing Golden Retriever named Sam who loves to go on early morning walks with him or sit by his side on their porch in Franklin, TN.
Lover of his Lord, family time, music, using his smoker on his latest recipe, mountains, night sounds sitting by a fire in the fire pit, photography, and all things Harley Davidson, I am blessed to call him my son.
As I have observed his life of faith, his consistency in prayer, the Word, and the wisdom of Oswald Chambers have pointed the way for the course of his life even in this current difficult season. What a pleasure for me to share his heart with you today!