Battered and bruised. We know it’s what Jesus suffered in his final moments on this earth. Although I have no ability to comprehend what He endured, I do know what it’s like to be battered and bruised by life.
Crushing of dreams.
Instead of healing, death.
Barely recovering from the last wave, when yet another storm hits.
Bad news, followed by yet more bad news.
Having to make hard decisions.
I used to live in a somewhat Pollyanna state. Not in the sense that I had this positive, sunny outlook on life. It was thinking life would be easier as a believer—that good things would happen no matter what. And that I might even avoid a whole lot of problems because I had God on my side.
Life isn’t any easier because of my faith. Good things don’t always happen. Problems—big and small—still occur.
At first glance this sounds depressing and disappointing. It can knock the wind out of your sails if you’re new in the faith or have falsely believed this for any period of time. Yet when you start to live it, you actually come to appreciate it…that is, if you understand how much our growth in the Lord is dependent on hard and difficult times.
I’m not the same person, who more than 20 years ago, stepped foot into a Sunday morning church service for the first time. New in the Lord with a whole lot of naiveté to go along with it. I’m a warrior, one who has gone through many battles and a few wars (with some scars to prove it). I’ve seen death. I’ve tasted defeat. I’ve experienced loss and heartbreak. But it’s because of those things I am a warrior.
You don’t get tough without going through some stuff. You don’t grow in the Lord without some pain (think of growing pains). And you don’t come to fully understand your need for God without being in want.
Life will batter and bruise us. But it’s our response that determines if we’ll stay stuck in diapers, spiritually defenseless, or if we’ll rise up as a warrior, spiritually victorious.