Hardship can either help us grow spiritually or make us bitter. What we do with difficulties in our lives is up to us, but how beautiful when we allow God to use hallways for our good!
Today, I'm excited to introduce blogger Jessica Cornell. She's sharing how God enables us to forgive after hardship if we're willing to let the Holy Spirit work through our trials.
Hardship and Forgiveness - by Jessica Cornell
What do I know about forgiveness and hardship? I'm only 26, after all. What would I know about overcoming obstacles and staring fear in the face and moving past pain?
Well, my childhood, in a nutshell, would be described as lonely. No one was ever there. Lots of doors were shut to keep us from bothering anyone. Separate rooms for the adults (if they were there). My brothers, sister, and I usually had to break into our own home when we got home from school. There was never any physical abuse, but there were lots of things I had to overcome from trying to figure things out on my own.
And over time, my heart naturally hardened from the lack of life and love I was surrounded by. I had to become someone who didn't need anyone else to survive.
Funny enough, we grew up in church. I always believed in God, but He always seemed so far away or like this God who demanded worship within four walls. After Sunday, just do whatever you want. Go ahead and judge. Go ahead and look down on others for not following certain rules or expectations. Go ahead and gossip. Be sure to look nice in service. In regular life, work as hard as you can to get ahead and leave everyone else behind.
One day, I heard a message that was different than anything else I had ever heard before. I don't remember what was spoken. But for the first time, my eyes were opened to how close and personal our precious Father wants to be. For the first time, I understood how The Lord has been pursuing me from the moment I took my first breath; how He wants to walk with me through everything.
One of the most important things, I believe, that a Christ follower needs to know is that God wants to walk with you in every moment of your life. You don't have to be a certain way for Him to love you. You don't have to do certain things for Him to be more pleased with you. It doesn't mean you can do whatever you want. The key is getting to know His true nature and things will naturally fall off.
A long time ago, Jesus died on the cross and bore that pain you've been holding on to before you were even formed. He died and took on the suffering that we really deserve, so that we can have life and peace and joy. Death couldn't hold Him down and Scripture says that He's sitting at the right hand of the Father, praying for us, on our behalf. He did it all for you!
It doesn't mean we won't have hardship or go through things. But we do have a Father that can replace pain with joy and fear for peace that passes all understanding. So when we understand the heart of the Father, we realize that whoever has caused us pain doesn't know the true nature of our God. This is where forgiveness comes in.
If we want people to know the Lord, we have to be a mirror image of Him who forgives and loves people exactly where they are at. This does not come easily, but God is so much bigger than we are and can guide your heart and ways. You don't even have to do it in your own strength. It will truly set your heart free of bitterness and pain.
There's nothing better than releasing your hardened heart to the Father. He knows exactly what to do. He knows exactly how to heal. He knows exactly how to love. And He is everything you need in every moment of your life. Just ask Him.
Jessica Cornell is fascinated with frugal fashion and has a heart for helping women see themselves as the Lord sees them: timeless. You can learn more about the Father's heart for you at You Are Timeless or follow her on Instagram here!