A Tide of Tough

“Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid.” Attributed to John Wayne


True statement. Actually two true statements.

I know from personal experience that life is tougher when I’m stupid (hush – no need to amen me on that).

Like the time in first grade when a friend and I stood on the sidewalk that went straight to my front door and tried to throw a box of sand on each car as it passed by. After many attempts – success! We covered a car with as much sand as two first graders can throw!!

Car screeches to a halt.

Angry lady jumps out: “Where do you live?”

Me (with “isn’t it obvious?” look on my face): “right here!”

She marches me up to the front door. Tells my parents.

 Life became harder for me the rest of THAT day. 
Sheesh. You’d think the lady never had a box of sand thrown across her hood. Whatever…

Life is tougher when you’re stupid. Not much disagreement from the peanut gallery on that one.

But life is tough? Most would nod in assent. Yet most feel surprised, upset, and shocked when life IS actually tough. In fact, most of us live with this hope, this dream, this fantasy that the right school, right house, right job, right hair care product, right skin softener will somehow save us from the adversity that life brings our way.

 Not even the right hair gel will hold back the tide of tough that
will come into every life.hair-gel

 In fact, in the Bible, even when God said, “I will bless you” to Isaac (Gen. 26) TWICE, it didn’t preserve Isaac from adversity. The secret to happiness …is not a life free from adversity. At least part of the secret to happiness, or better yet – joy (that deeper seated, long lasting undercurrent of happiness that God gives) is to do this:


Truth – you will receive adversity. Young men who run six miles a day die of heart attacks. Faithful wives and mothers get ditched by their husbands for younger models. Doctors say “there’s nothing we can do but make you comfortable till the end.”

Adversity is a part of this life. Expect it. If you don’t, you’re living in a dream world that will turn into a nightmare when reality plows through your dream.  Jesus said, “in this world you will have trouble.”John 16.33

Here’s the key – all that adversity that is swirling and whirling “out there,” doesn’t have to take root “in here” (you can’t see it, but I’m pointing at my heart right now).  Instead of “in here” (still pointing at my heart-pay attention) I can put it “on Him.”

 Cast all your anxiety on HIM, for HE cares for you. I Peter 5:7

Adversity will be IN me, or ON Him.

Now I have to admit; this is a daily battle for me. Maybe like you, even though I embrace the idea that adversity is real and don’t expect it to end until heaven, it can surprise me and hijack my emotions in a second. And so I am determined that I must daily walk with Him, putting my anxiety, stress, and strain on Him, so that I walk through adversity with Him doing what He wants me to do.

I’m changing the quote with which I started. Sure, life is tough, and it’s tougher if you’re stupid, but it’s even tougher if you aren’t constantly making the “great exchange” of your anxiety for His peace.

Life is tough. It’s even tougher when you refuse to put your anxiety on Him, in exchange for His peace.

My adversity – on HIM, HIS peace – on me. Thankful A moment by moment exchange. Thankful that He offers that.

Amen and amen.



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