Spiritual Practice

Tough Times

Rachel Starr Thomson

Where do you live?” That is a simple question, but sometimes it isn’t so easy to answer. How do you tell people that, at the moment, you are living in a tent in a friend’s backyard or in an upstairs bedroom with your parents and all your siblings because your family lost its home due to financial difficulties?

I have lived in both of those places. I have also lived in old mansions, in upscale neighborhoods, and in trailers. Outwardly, my family has always looked respectably middle class — not like people who just placed their last five dollars in the offering plate.

Paul learns to be content with whatever he has. Learn his secret in Philippians 4:12–13.

In my adventurous, financially up-and-down life, I have learned a lot about humanity. I have learned to accept gifts with gratitude and grace, for the day will come when you can give back. I have learned that people shouldn’t be judged by their circumstances. I have learned that outward things are no measure of inner beauty. In fact, the tough times can create people who know how to rely fully on God and to love God without the distraction of keeping up appearances.

Where do I live? In God’s grace. And no matter what happens, that will never change.


REFLECT: When have you grown closer to God during a tough time? How are you learning to be content?

— from devozine (March/April 2009). Copyright © 2009 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved.

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