I dialed my friend and told her about the Hard Thing I had to do.
“I don’t know how to do this,” my voice shook when I spoke, and I felt hollowed out. “How do I tell him the news? This is so hard.”
My friend Michelle said she’d go with me, because that’s what Jesus-sisters do when life plummets us into the category of “Hard Things.” Sisters help sisters bear burdens. We drove into the night, snow swirling like a pale curtain in front of our headlights.
I had just found out that my father-in-law’s cancer had returned, with great fury. The prognosis was not good, and I would need to tell my husband about his dying father.
My husband and Michelle’s husband were serving together at a men’s Christian retreat that weekend, so we drove a half hour to deliver the news in person. When our husbands saw our faces, they knew the news we brought was going to be hard to hear.
I shared the diagnosis, and then all four of us held hands and prayed, tears streaming down our cheeks.
In the middle of the Hard Thing, we met Jesus. We met Him in our prayers, our mingled tears, our joined hands — and in the promise of a Comforter who doesn’t leave us alone in our suffering.
What is your Hard Thing this year? What seems impossible for you today? Where do you feel especially weak, in need of a Comforter?
In the Latin, “comfort” reads like this:
com + fortis
with + strong
That means that our Comforter is strong with us. He is with us, making us strong.
This kind of comfort? It’s a game-changer.
God’s comfort, Amy Carmichael writes, “is not soft, weakening commiseration; it is true, strengthening love.”
Sister, when you are facing Hard Things this year, your Comforter “is strong with you.”
Maybe your Hard Thing is news you’ve yet to deliver, a difficult conversation that’s long overdue, a deadline that seems impossible to reach, or a life-calling that feels scary. Maybe your Hard Thing is the everyday battle of getting out of bed in the morning.
Take the next step. Your Comforter is strong with you.
Take the next step. A great crowd of witnesses is cheering you on.
Take the next step. When you step out with bravery you strengthen others who are struggling to take their next step. You’re showing them that it’s possible to do Hard Things.
Take the next step. Because Jesus will meet you in the middle of your hardest battles.
When the way is long, your Comforter is making you strong for the journey.
Remember that Jesus did the Hardest Thing already. He forfeited heaven and put skin on. He literally had skin in the game. He put skin on, because He wanted to make you strong, in Him.
Jesus knows what it’s like to face Hard Things, to bear the heavy cross. He knows your battle is hard. But, He says, What’s too hard for you, is not too hard for Me.
“I am the Lord God of all humanity. Nothing is too hard for me.” (Jeremiah 32:27)
What’s your Hard Thing? Where do you need the Comforter to be strong with you? Today, this comment box could be a place where we could share our Hard Things — a way of us taking the next step. And then, we could be the sisters who help sisters carry burdens. Take the next step.