Published on August 1st, 2019 | by Nina Pulley
[Reflection] Tough Times
Everyone faces a time in their lives where they can’t overcome a certain situation on their own. They need help from others: an encouraging call from a grandmother, a long talk with their Dad or a hug from their Mom; a laugh with their favorite cousin or an encouraging word from an aunt with a reminder that everything will be okay. It may be a breakup, sudden unemployment, the loss of a friend or the death of a loved one. It may be all of these at once. No one can get through it on their own – that’s why we were made together. We emerge from our mother’s womb naked, defenseless, and in desperate need of nurture and care. We begin to learn to walk, with our little hands in our caretaker’s, guiding us along the way. We have our first day of school under the care of a teacher, walking in a line, being led to wherever we’re going, making sure that we stay in the formation that we’ve been given.
What happens when we grow up, tackling life on our own, without someone to guide us? So many of us gravitate towards a structure, some set of rules that we can fall back on. In the Bible, it was the Law. In our culture, it’s conformism, or at least conservatism. So what do we call tough times? Times when the formula doesn’t work. Times when the structure deviates from its predetermined trajectory. It is unfamiliar, foreign, mutated, other.
Many Black people know that this often falls unfairly on people of color more than it does on others. One group does all they can to compile resources and material security, building up psychological mechanisms to create a story of blame for whoever they deem faultworthy, while the other group suffers, is vilified, criminalized, blamed and tortured for something they didn’t do.
This is all out of fear of tough times. Some people do all they can to avoid facing discomfort and responsibility while the other people can’t seem to get away from it.
When things go awry, we sometimes panic. That’s why people spend so much time trying to prevent potentially devastating circumstances. I Others roll with the punches and have learned to grow and strengthen themselves during times of trouble.
What does the Bible say about tough times? It says:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.
Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
The Bible mentions many things in regards to tough times and getting through them, and the running thread is that God is there and He is listening. He never leaves. He never changes. As long as we can return to what formed us, what made us, the One that’s been rooting for us from the beginning, we can find a way to survive even the worst of situations and circumstances.
God is always with us. It’s just a matter of us remembering, being real with it, and learning how to live our lives in submission to him. Then, tough times turn into struggles, and struggles turn into battles, and battles turn into victories. If we remember the power of prayer, it can get us through anything.