When the Going Gets Tough

I am sure you heard this phrase growing up, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  If you have ever been in a relationship with another person you know what this looks like well.  To build a strong relationship or marriage, it takes a tremendous amount of work.  The easy solution is to just coast, take things for granted, sweep challenges under the rug, and hope it all works out for the best.  The greatest challenge is to work at that relationship.  It is tough to have blunt conversations as you try to hold each other accountable.  It is tough to talk about intentions, dreams, and plans, especially when they are not congruent with the other person in your relationship.  Best put, relationships are lots of hard work.  Yet the deepest and strongest relationships require hard work, and overcoming challenges and obstacles together.

Our faith is no different.  Right now we are in a time of 21 days of prayer and discernment.  We are seeking to listen to God for his leading in both our lives and our church.  We are working hard on our relationship with God, to grow, and to grow as a church together.  But that is not easy work, because as we hear in 1 Peter, “Cast all your anxiety on God because he cares for you.  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:7-9 NIV)

This passage makes one thing clear, although God is for us, the devil is against us, hoping that we fail, hoping that we get discouraged, hoping that we will give up, change course, stop trying, and just take the easy way.  Jesus puts it this way, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14, ESV)

As I write this, I am trying to fend off the sniffles, because I have some sort of cold bug.  I don’t write this to say I am sick because we are in a time of prayer, but I think the two are connected.  Are you finding yourself fighting with your spouse more?  Ever considered that our time of prayer might have something to do with it?  Has work been more challenging, been in more disagreements at church, and struggled more than ever to find time to read the bible?  The road to life is HARD.  As we seek to listen to God, to hear this calling on our lives, it may be hard.  But hard does not mean we are on the wrong track, it does not necessarily mean that we need to stop or change direction.  Hard may be a confirmation that in fact we are hot on the trail of what God has for us, and the devil is working hard to make sure we don’t get there.  So instead of, “if the going gets tough, the tough get going,” let’s instead try, “If the going gets tough the faithful pray for one another, lean into God, and trust that He will be with them.”  When it gets tough let us pull together as one body to lift up and support one another in the work that God has called us to.

Discussion Questions

  1. Are there are places in your life right now the going is getting tough?

  2. How do you typically respond to challenges and obstacles?

  3. How will you look to others for support in tough times?

Pastor Bill