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Hard times hit me

Corey Worrell

Hard times hit me

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Over the last 12 months, many people have been experiencing some kind of hardship. It may be due to many reasons but there is one thing they all have in common and that is hope.
Many people are touched and encouraged by these articles and some people have this perception that I have it all together since these articles are inspiring to read.
In today’s article, I want to make myself vulnerable to you and share with you some of what I have experienced over the last 12 months, so you will know that I, too, share that hope. If you know someone who is unemployed, struggling financially, going through a divorce, battling with an illness, fighting for custody of the kids or going through any other hardships, encourage that person to read this article.
One week ago I came to the realization that in the last 12 months I have worked for only three months (the first three months of this year). This realization caused me to sit and reflect. As I reflected, I started to feel so bad, tears welled up in my eyes. I felt embarrassed, I felt like a failure as a man, husband and father since I wasn’t able to provide for my family the way I wanted to.
The more I reflected, the more depressed I got. While sitting there, a voice whispered to me, “But look what I have done”, and the voice repeated, “But look what I have done”.
Immediately, a fresh revelation came to me. Even though I had been unemployed since June last year, all my bills were paid in full and on time; my car was not taken up and had a full tank of gas every week; my wife and daughter were clothed, fed, provided for and housed; my health did not deteriorate.
As a result of not working, I spent the majority of my time with my daughter, which in my opinion is more work than any other job I had. Being home with her gave me the privilege of seeing when she first crept, walked, clapped her hands, talked, climbed and fed herself. And anyone who sees us together knows she is truly a daddy’s girl.
Sometimes we spend so much time wallowing in our despair and situations that we often don’t see the goodness of God in our lives and the positives that are birthed out of challenging times.
We as a people will face numerous hardships and dry seasons in our lifetime but they are there for a purpose. I call these hard and challenging times – wilderness experiences.   
A wilderness is a dry, uncomfortable and lonely place. A wilderness experience is a time of hardship and dryness in your life, which will lead you to celebration, peace and freedom once you don’t give up or stop moving. (Think about it as your promised land.)
During these experiences there isn’t much that others can do to help because it is a time when God deals with you one on one. It’s a time for building character, renewing perceptions and mindsets, and reforming the heart and focus.
During my wilderness experience I have been dealing with areas of laziness, procrastination, selfishness, jealousy and pride in my life. Yes, I have issues too but one thing is sure, because of this wilderness experience I am a better person today than I was last June.
We are often tempted to ask God to take away these hard times from us but I want to encourage you not to make this prayer. Instead, ask God to give you the grace and strength to face these challenges so that, in the end, He gets the glory.
God didn’t take Daniel out of the lion’s den; he didn’t stop the three Hebrew boys from going in the fiery furnace; he didn’t rescue Joseph from his brothers or Potiphar’s wife and neither did he save Jesus from the cross. What He did was give them the grace and strength to overcome. All of these men were facing wilderness experiences.
The wilderness experience lasts only for a time, once you don’t stop moving or give up.
• Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth youth ambassador. Email [email protected]