What if this isn’t whether or not you have a hardship in your life, but rather how you steward any hardship you may endure. We spend so much of our time trying to avoid hardship at all costs, when the truth is, they’re going to come. No one is immune to the tough stuff of life. Hey, we live in a fallen world and crap is going to happen. Hurt people are going to hurt people. People are going to get sick. Families are going to be divided. It won’t be fair.

Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble.” There’s no pre-qualification on that. He didn’t say you will only have trouble if you screw up. He didn’t say trouble is reserved for the wrong. He said YOU WILL have trouble. But notice what Jesus says next … He says, “But take heart, I have overcome the world.” So, if in this world you’re gong to have trouble and Jesus has already overcome the world you have this trouble in, this means Jesus already has your trouble taken care of!

Oh, trouble will still touch you. You’re not guaranteed insulation from all of this, but you’re promised Jesus has already made a way through it. So, he says, “take heart!” What exactly does it mean to “take heart” when trouble comes your way? Take your heart intentionally out of that darkness. The Amplified Bible explains it to mean to be courageous, confident, undaunted and filled with joy. Yes, in the face of trouble!

Is that how you’ve been facing trouble? Hmmmm … or has it been more anxiety and worry filled? Has it been a whole lot more freak out style? Has trouble caused you to crawl in a hole and pull a rock over your head where you’ve decided you will lay low and stay miserable? Well, I’m going to be all up in your business today with all the love I have and say, my beautiful sister, that is now how God wants you to handle this trouble. If Jesus has overcome it, why are you crawling under it?

He wants you to face this trouble KNOWING he has already overcome it. He wants you to show up with courage knowing it may not just go away, but you are going to find a way with Jesus. He wants you to be courageous in the chaos, confident in the conflict, undaunted in the uncertainty, and joyful in the junk you’re going through. Why? Because you truly believe that Jesus has already overcome all of this trouble and when you stay close to him, he’s going to get you through it too.

How are you stewarding your hardship? This is what our loving Father, Papa, asked me to talk to you about today. Hear him as he says, “My girl, it’s not what you’re going through, it’s how you’re going through it.”

Someone sold us on some cheap mistruth thinking that a life with Jesus would guarantee us smooth sailing and favorable situations at all times. Hey, if that were true, then why would Romans 8:28 tells us that “God works all things together for good for those who love him.” You don’t have to work good things with other good things to become good. No, they’re already good. But you do have to do some work with those unfavorable things and confusing things, those delayed things and some impossible things, those hidden things and some tough things. Yes, those are the things that God works together for good. If all you ever do is try to outrun the hard things, then you miss the ultimate good God wants to work together for you.

Your life is kinda like banana bread. It’s made of some really unfavorable things worked together and made good. Rotten bananas are the key ingredient. Nobody wants a rotten banana. But put firm fresh bananas in your mix and you don’t get the sweetness in the end. We all want to avoid the rotten bananas, but God uses them!

IN THIS WORLD YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE. But, girl, remember, JESUS HAS OVERCOME ALL OF IT! You don’t have to be afraid of this. You don’t have to stop living here.

Think about Ruth in the Bible. This is a woman who had lost her husband. Not only that, but she’s now taking care of her widowed former mother-in-law, and they have no food. That’s hardship. But the way she handled her hardship allowed her to step into more goodness than she ever imagined. She knew how to steward her loss. She knew how to steward her worry. She knew how to steward her unfair situation. Each day, she would get up and do what she could where she was with what she had. She remained committed. She remained grateful. And then the owner of the fields where she had been picking up left over wheat noticed her. He noticed how she stewarded her hardship, and he had great compassion for her. This man became her husband, and she was taken care of for the rest of her life.

It’s not about avoiding hardship, it’s about stewarding hardship in a way that honors God! This is your faith on display! This is your banana bread!

Remember the story of the 12 spies who were sent by Moses to scout out their Promised Land? There the spies saw a land flowing with milk and honey, which was a drastic difference from the desert they had been wandering around in. They saw abundance and beauty, but they also saw large enemies and hardship if they proceeded. 10 of the spies returned to Moses and the Israelites and said, “we absolutely CANNOT do this!” 2 of the spies said, “The Lord is with us, we can do this! Let’s proceed.”

What we see here is the difference in stewarding hardship. Are you running from it? Are you constantly complaining about it, worrying about it, generally hating every hard step of it? Or are you confident in God’s promises? Are you confident God is going before you? Are you confident you won’t carry the weight of this alone when you stay close to Jesus? The 10 who ran from the hardship never experienced their Promised Land of abundance. Only the 2 who were prepared to steward it with confidence, courage and joy were granted the opportunity to possess the promise.

You want the promise? Steward your hardship! Steward it with faith. Steward it with confidence. Steward it with positive energy and joy. No, you wouldn’t have asked for this, but it’s what you’re going through, so honey, go through it with the supernatural strength God is offering you.

Remember, Jesus has already overcome this, so he doesn’t need you crawling down under it.

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