Getting Through the Hard Stuff

This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” Habakkuk 2:3 (NLT)

Ethan had had just about enough of this parade. The weather was spitting rain and the wind was blowing and it was just one stupid band after another. When he had made plans with Mom and his little brother to spend that Saturday morning watching the homecoming parade, it sounded like fun. But the weather had been much warmer and Ethan thought there would be a lot more floats throwing candy and Shriners on mini-bikes and clowns. He stepped out from the curb to look down the street. Just more bands. Nothing fun.

There was a toy store behind where they were sitting. Ethan begged his mom to let him go look around “just for a little bit.” Mom reluctantly agreed but told him he was going to miss the best part. Ethan didn’t see how that could possibly be true.

The toy store was warm and dry. The aisles were filled with all the latest gadgets, already stocked for Christmas shopping. Even better, it had the latest video game hooked up to play. Ethan couldn’t resist. He had to try it out. He raced cars and demolished bad guys for what seemed to him to be only minutes. Soon he felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Mom and his little brother. Had they come in to get out of the cold?

“Parade’s over, Ethan,” Mom said. “Time to go home.” What had seemed like only minutes to Ethan, had turned into close to an hour. Just then his little brother came up the aisle, carrying a bag of candy and a noisemaker.

“Look what I got at the parade, Ethan,” his brother grinned. “There were guys in funny hats riding around on little motorcycles and they gave me this noisemaker. Then there were people on big floats who came by and threw out candy. I got a whole bag!”

Ethan was disappointed that he had missed that part of the parade but he tried not to let it show on his face. His brother tried to cheer him up by offering to share his candy but Ethan really had wanted his own. Too bad he had given up before the good stuff came. Too bad he hadn’t stayed through the boring stuff to get to the fun stuff.

Ethan was pretty quiet on the way home and Mom could guess why. “Sorry you missed the fun stuff at the parade,” she consoled him. “But sometimes you have to get through the boring stuff to get to the fun stuff. It’s that way in life, too, Ethan. Sometimes you have to get through the hard stuff to get to the good stuff. But it’s worth it – all that hard stuff. It really makes us appreciate the good stuff when it comes.”

The Lord replied, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.” Habakkuk 1:5 (NLT)

Ethan knew Mom was right but he still wanted to feel sorry for himself a little longer. As the old van merged with traffic on the Interstate, Ethan thought about all the “hard stuff” they were going through right now as a family. Missing Dad, wondering if he would call, hoping he would come home, praying for him to be touched and changed by the Lord. Ethan had had about enough of that, too. But then he thought about the parade and how he didn’t want to sit through the boring stuff and how his little brother had scored some candy just because he was willing to sit through the other stuff. Maybe it was that way for their family, too. If they could get through all this hard stuff, it just might make the good stuff, a family healed and mended and living for the Lord, even better. By the time they pulled into the garage, Ethan had made up his mind that it WAS worth it. Getting through the hard times would make the good times that much better.

“Hey!” Ethan called to his brother as they piled out of the van. “Maybe I will take some of that candy.” His brother offered him the bag and told him to take whatever he wanted. As Ethan unwrapped his favorite grape Jolly Rancher, he knew that he would do whatever it took to get through the hard stuff. It was worth it.

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36 (NLT)

God bless

A Stander in Nebraska

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