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Joy in hardship
Pastor Mark Jeske
by Pastor Mark Jeske
November 18, 2020

This Thanksgiving it’s not going to be particularly hard to have thankful feelings in my heart. The year has brought plenty of challenges and disappointments, to be sure, but my problems are relatively small. We still have our house, we were fed like clockwork, we were employed the full 12 months, and nobody in our family died young.

I wonder if I will have the prophet Habakkuk’s grace when I face some real disasters: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17,18). 

I wonder if my generally cheerful spirit can take serious adversity. I wonder if my worship life would grind to a halt if I blamed God for taking away major supports of my life. My father’s generation was much more churchgoing than today’s, and they had to survive a decade-long catastrophic financial depression and World War II. Perhaps not all hardships are bad if they make us realize our dependence on God. Perhaps losses of material things might inspire us to value more our spiritual treasures in Christ.

Perhaps seeing the earth for the broken place it really is will move us to lift up our eyes and long for heaven.

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