It’s easy to have a good attitude and pursue your dreams as long as everything is going your way. That’s doesn’t take a lot of faith. But what about the difficult times when a relationship doesn’t work out, you get a bad health report, or a friend does you wrong?
It’s easy to lose your passion when you are hurting. Many people are sitting on the sidelines of life because they’re injured. They are nursing their wounds, and not moving forward because of what they’ve been through.
You may have a reason to feel sorry for yourself, but don’t have a right. God promised to give you beauty for those ashes. He said He would pay you back double for the wrongs, but you have to do your part. If you are to see the beauty, if you’re to get double, you have to shake off your self-pity.
Shake off the discouragement and get back in the game. We all have wounds, but you can’t let a loss, a health issue, or a divorce be your excuse to sit on the sidelines. Sometimes in life you have to play in pain.
This thought struck me while I was watching a football game in which one of the best players had a broken hand and bruised ribs. He was a big offensive lineman. He wasn’t expected to play. The trainers wanted him to sit out, but he wasn’t about to miss the game. He had a big cast on his arm and he was wearing a special vest to protect his ribs. He was so bandaged up he looked like a mummy. A reporter asked him how he felt: “It’s a little painful, but I’d rather be in the game in pain than sitting on the sidelines watching.”
If you are to become all God created you to be, you can’t let an injury, hurt, or disappointment cause you to sit on the sidelines, either. Be like that banged-up lineman. Bandage what’s hurting. Forgive the person who did you wrong. Let go of what didn’t work out and get back in the game.
No matter what life deals your way, your attitude should be: “I’m hurting but I’m still here. A friend did me wrong but I’m still here. Business is slow but I’m still here. I didn’t feel like coming but I’m still here.”
You need to make your mind to stay in the game. You can’t just be faithful only as long as you feel perfectly well, as long as everybody treats you right, or as long as it’s sunny and cool outside. You have to be like this lineman with a made-up mind.
“I’m hurting, but I’m still coming.”
“My boss did me wrong, but I’m still getting to work on time, being my best.”
“My child won’t speak to me. It’s breaking my heart. I’m in pain but I’m still singing in the choir. I’m still ushering each week. I’m still being good to a friend in need. I’ve still got a smile. I’m still giving God praise.”
Anybody can sit on the sidelines. Anybody can find an excuse to be sour, to drop out, or to give up on life. I’m asking you to stay in the game. When you’re hurting and in pain, it’s easy to become fixated on your hurt, your disappointments, or your bad breaks. All that will do is bring more discouragement, more self-pity, eventually even depression.
One of the best things you can do when you’re hurting is go out and help somebody else who is hurting. Get your mind off your problems and pain by helping somebody else in need. When you help others in your time of need, you are sowing a seed God can use to change your situation.
In Isaiah book, there is a verse “Arise from the depression in which the circumstances have kept you. Rise to a new life.” Notice, if you want a new life there’s something you have to do. You can’t sit back in self-pity. You can’t wait until all your wounds heal and you feel 100 percent. Shake off what didn’t work out. Quit mourning over what you’ve lost. Quit dwelling on who hurt you and how unfair it was, and rise to a new life. When God sees you in the game, pain and all, bandages and all—when you show up with the attitude: “I’m hurting but I’m still here. I’m hurting but I know God is still in the Throne. I’m hurting but I’m expecting God to turn it around”—that’s when the Creator of the universe goes to work. That’s when God will pay you back for the wrongs that have happened to you.
You may be in a tough time. You may be sitting on the sidelines. If that’s case, God is saying, “Arise and get back in the game.” If a friend betrayed you, don’t go through life lonely. Go out and find some new friends. The right people are in your future. If you lost your job, don’t sit around complaining. Go out and find another job. When one door closes God will always open another door.
If you’re facing a health issue, fighting a sickness, don’t give up on life and start planning your funeral. Arise from that discouragement. When God sees you do your part, He will do His part. He will give you a new life. He will restore your health, give you new opportunities, new relationships. He will give you a new perspective. You will see that even though it’s painful for a time, it is not the end. Even though it was unfair, it is not over. There is still life after the sickness. Life after divorce, and life after the bad break. A full life is still in front of you.
The Scripture says Job experienced this. He went through all kinds of tough times. Everything that could go wrong did. He was tempted to sit on the sidelines of life. His wife told him, “Job, just give up. It’s never going to get any better.”
But in the midst of that pain Jod said, “I know my Redeemer lives.” He was saying in effect, “I’m hurting but I’m still in the game. I’m hurting but I know my God is still on the Throne.”
A year later when Job came through that challenge, God not only brought him out; God paid him back double for what he lost. The Scripture says, “After this, Job lived 140 years and saw his grandchildren down to four generations.” Notice, after the trouble, after the loss, after the sickness, after the business went down, after the bottom felt out, his life still was not over. He didn’t end on a sour, defeated note. He went on to live a blessed, happy 140 years, enjoying his grandchildren, accomplishing his dreams, fulfilling his destiny.