DO HARD THINGS
(it prepares them for life)
One of the greatest responsibilities we have as fathers and mothers is to prepare our children for life. Nothing prepares a child or a person quite as effectively as doing hard things. Most parents today strive first and foremost to give their children comfort. Kids are given expensive clothes, expensive phones, and many never have to do chores or even get jobs as teenagers. Many drive cars newer and fancier than any I have ever owned in my entire lifetime! They are coddled, seldom challenged, having had few demands placed upon them. Most kids today can’t even get along with their siblings at home, as it is just too hard, and demands too much from them. Many don’t even share a room with another child, feeling entitled to have their own special place.
Life is full of very difficult experiences and hardships. Life is not fair, it is not kind, and is often cruel. Someone once asked me “How is life treating you?” My answer was, “Life is very cruel, but God has been very good to me.” I really meant it. Looking back honestly on the totality of my life, it has been filled with hard, difficult, cruel, and unjust things. Many, many trials. Don’t misunderstand. Of course, I have had many blessings. My children, my wife, my home, my health, my relationship with Jesus Christ, the joy of serving God, and many, many kindnesses shown to me through the years. I am exceedingly grateful! However, had I not chosen to walk through the hard things, to do the hard things, none of the blessings would I have ever experienced. I would have been cut off from them, as I would’ve become very, very discouraged by life, given up, and quit before many of the blessings arrived. Life is truly that hard, cruel, and harsh. People are very difficult, often extremely cruel, very harsh, and vicious. Backstabbers as the old song goes, “They smile in your face, all they wanna do is take your place, the backstabbers”. Or the old Three Dog Night song lyrics, “How can people be so heartless, How can people be so cruel, easy.” These songs resonated deeply with me as a young man, and they proved to be true in my real-life experiences.
We simply must prepare our children for hard stuff, by asking them to do hard things now. I often reflect on all of the extremely difficult things my 4 children have had to walk through and endure in their adult lives. I am telling you honestly, watching them as their father and all they have each had to endure has been far more difficult than having them at home with me as little children. I am so thankful each of them continued their faith and endurance through tremendous obstacles, hardships, trials, and injustices. This has made me so grateful to God that through the wisdom He gave my wife and me, and the lessons God taught us through His wise Fathering of our lives, we required our children to do and endure hard things growing up in our home.
I love this passage in the Phillips translation of Romans 5:3-4a. It provides a powerful illustration and insight into why the concept of “do hard things” is so imperative!
We can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop mature character.
And the NLT version
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us.
None of us tends to jump up and down for joy when we have problems, troubles, trials, and difficulties. Often they do indeed bring us sorrow and pain. But, and I love this phrase from the Phillips Bible, taken in the right spirit. In other words when we have a divine perspective, when we grasp the tremendous good that results from doing and enduring hard things, there is a real genuine satisfaction and joy if you will, in the marvelous results we experience. We develop greater strength of character and greater confidence.
This is also one of the essential qualities that doing hard things produces. It will not only give your children great endurance, but it gives them significant confidence in life, as they face the greater challenges of adulthood, and all of its complex challenges, trials, and difficulties.
Personally, I have often reflected on this passage from the Revised Berkeley Bible in Psalm 71:20-21:
Thou, who hast made me experience troubles great and sore, wilt revive me again and wilt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Thou wilt add to my stature and comfort me again.
This passage has given me tremendous strength, encouragement, and perspective through the decades of my spiritual journey walking with God. God has done exactly what Psalm 71 promises in my life.
I close with this powerful insight God gave to me many, many years ago.
“Hardship is essential for the full development of character. Children who are never required to face certain daily rigors of life, never required to sacrifice, to stick with hard things are doomed by their parents to failure and frustration in life.” Pastor Mark Darling
May God give you fathers and mothers tremendous courage to help your children do hard things!
This unique series, God and Mr. Miyagi will offer you some wonderful insights into this important truth. It will be well worth your time to listen.
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling