Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:3
It was Hell Week for us.
January of 2005 brought a series of events that tested our family to the limit. Our church went through a rough time. We had a drought in Idaho, and the plants in our yard that didn’t burn up in the heat were eaten down to bare sticks by grasshoppers. The grasshoppers literally came in hordes. My son Daniel kept saying, “Let their people go.”
All year long, trial after trial pelted us. The adversity climaxed in December when Kevin fell seriously ill with a urinary tract infection. Christmas dinner was fish sticks and freezer fries. The next day Kevin was in ICU with sepsis.
He suffered from a serious reaction to the antibiotic and was too sick to eat. We stayed with him day and night until he was finally released on January 2 of 2006, gaunt and tired. We returned home battle worn.
God promises in His Word to make the path of the righteous straight. It’s also headed upward. We are often caught off guard when we see it doing both at the same time—heading straight up. We lose heart on the path that will take us closer to God.
We’re tempted to take a side trip around the mountain and rest a bit on level ground, but a lukewarm existence is truly harder on the soul than the arduous ascent. At times we feel like we’re going around in circles, even when we’re making progress. The enemy, Satan, starts his whispering campaign to discourage us and convince us to give up.
The alternative is to turn back and head down to a lower level of life. Is it a relief to quit climbing? Sure it is. For a while. Then our vision clears, and we realize we have given back hard-won ground.
Jesus warned us the journey would be rough. He guaranteed that in this world we will suffer, but He will never forsake us, and He will help us overcome the trials we endure.
The way to victory is to prepare and train for an uphill climb, to arm ourselves for the mental battle along the way. It requires complete trust in the One who leads the way, and the discipline to never, ever, turn back.
In retrospect, that terrible year taught us a lot about discernment, priorities, prayer, and tenacity. We also emerged on the other side of the struggle with a greater understanding of God’s grace.
My vision is a little clearer and my trust a little stronger because of the awful chasm we had to hurdle. I am definitely more grateful for God’s leading and protection over our lives each day. I’m especially thankful for His patience.
And, hopefully, we’re a little farther up the trail.
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What do you do when times get tough?
by Pam Thorson
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Pam was born at the Millington Naval Base outside of Memphis, Tennessee, the first child of a Wisconsin navy seaman and a Southern belle. Her early life was marked by many moves around the country as her father pursued a career in broadcasting. After traveling throughout the deep South and the Pacific Northwest, the family finally settled on the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) reservation in Idaho. Pam met her wonderful husband during college, set her roots down deep along the banks of the Clearwater River, and happily began a home and family. Pam and Aaron educated all five of their children at home. They began homeschooling in 1982 and graduated their youngest daughter in 2006. Pam and Aaron have been married forty-one years. They have five grown children, two sets of precious in-laws, and two beautiful granddaughters. Pam has long loved to write. She began writing for the local college newspaper and homeschooling group. Later she authored many devotionals for her church and an article for Evangel. In 2008 she wrote Song in the Night, the true account of her son’s injury in Canada, their fight to keep the doctors from pulling the plug, and the subsequent journey back home. Her second book is due for release by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in early 2014. In 2000, Pam became certified as a nurses’ aide to care for their injured son. She and her family have operated a certified family home licensed by the state of Idaho since 2000. In 2011, she completed the practical nurse program at Walla Walla Community College and earned her license as an LPN. Her conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1975 set her on a journey with her Savior spanning nearly four decades. Her love for and devotion to life has come from this association with her Creator. Pam adores her husband, her family, and friends. She enjoys her beautiful little log home, good coffee, the sound of the river at night, and just about any kind of Christian music.