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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Handling the Tough Stuff

by Patty Froese Ntihemuka

Letís face it, everyone hates hard times. Hereís how to get through the pain in your life.

 Sometimes everything seems to dump on you at once. Have you ever noticed that? It’s like one of those old-fashioned western songs—you have a fight with your parents, go to school to find out your best friend is mad at you, fail a quiz, then find out that the major project you thought you still had two weeks to complete is due that afternoon. Things just pile up!

Sometimes it’s more than a bad day. Maybe your parents are fighting, and your dad walks out, but this time he doesn’t come back in a day or so, which leaves you wondering if he loves you. Maybe someone close to you dies, and you’re left with a big hole in your heart that you don’t know how to fill. Maybe someone you really cared about gives you that horrible it’s-not-you-it’s-me speech, leaving you feeling alone and heartbroken. Maybe you feel that the things piling up on you are just too big to handle.
Life isn’t fair, and bad things happen. So what’s the point of following God? What’s the point of going to church instead of to the mall? What’s the point of being called a loser for standing up for your principles? What’s the point of not cheating on the test that everyone else is cheating on? I mean, if God isn’t going to protect you from the bad stuff, why go out of your way for Him?
Dave’s distress
David was a king who lived a few thousand years ago. God blessed David and gave him a nation to govern. But his life wasn’t easy!  People were constantly trying to kill David, and I’m not talking about a neat, bullet-to-the-head assassination. Ancient Palestine was a rather brutal place to live.
David hid in caves. He scrambled around in the mountains. He dodged attempts on his life, and he prayed like he’d never prayed before. Most of the psalms he wrote are David’s prayers to God to save him from the people who were steadily stalking him. He couldn’t even trust his closest friends.
The funny thing is, God called David “a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, NKJV).* Why did God make David—the king who kept running for his life and fighting battle after battle to keep himself alive; the king who made mistakes, such as stealing another man’s wife; the king who was far from perfect, but who kept going back to God to be forgiven and rescued—an example that we should aim for?
It doesn’t seem to make sense, does it? I mean, David had issues! He was highly emotional, he had far too many wives to even keep track of, his kids were as messed up as they come, and if you read his songs, his enemies were constantly pursuing him, from foreign invaders to backstabbing friends! Who wants to emulate that kind of life?
But God used David’s drama for a bigger purpose. When David was running for his life, he was forced to depend completely on God.  And when David saw God protecting him time after time, he realized he could trust God to take care of him. David realized that he wasn’t alone at all; he’d partnered with the strongest ally he could possibly have! Who needed an army when David had the God of the universe on his side?
Growing faith
This is how faith grows. We freak out, we panic. We pray like crazy. Then God comes through and works things out for us. Sometimes He doesn’t do it quite as quickly as we’d like, but He’s always working a plan that we aren’t aware of. God even works miracles at times!
The next time you feel afraid, pray again. But this time do so with a little less panic. You may still end up freaking out, but God will come through for you again. It might not be how you expected, but you’ll come out of the situation on the other side, knowing that you weren’t alone in your trouble. Each time trust God’s ability to help you a little bit more.
Sometimes God uses the hardest times of our lives to give us the biggest blessings. Have you ever noticed how the scariest times bring you the closest to your family? Suddenly the disagreements with your mom melt away, and your annoyance with your brother evaporates, because you’re all in the situation together, and you’re praying that God will help you through it.
Sometimes when life hits you hardest, your friends stand up the tallest and show you just how much they care about you. It’s then, when you’re the most disappointed in life, that you realize that you still have the things that matter most—people who love you and will be there for you no matter what.
Life is hard; that’s just how it is. Rich or poor, healthy or sick, teenager or elderly—life is hard. The rain falls on the good and the bad (see Matthew 5:45). So why then should we follow God?
Because we have something that other people don’t—a loving God by our sides guiding us and protecting us. And when the hard times come, God brings good things out of them, even when it seems almost impossible. And while we might have challenges and heartbreaks, God still heals us, comforts us, and reminds us that it won’t always be like this. One day this world will end, and we will go heaven—to the kind of life we all crave—where there’s no more pain (Revelation 21:4).
And David? In spite of all his messes, all his enemies, all his troubles, God brought him through them all right. David lived a long life. He saw his son established in his place. He saw his country enjoy peace and prosperity. As for all those people trying to kill him? They didn’t get the chance, because David had faith in God.
It isn’t the size of your faith, it’s the size of the one you have faith in!
*Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Patty Froese Ntihemuka writes from Canada, where she lives with her husband, Jean. She continues to write in every spare moment.

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