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Hardship may come upon us for many reasons.

Job 5:6-8 (New International Version)

For hardship does not spring from the soil,
nor does trouble sprout from the ground.

Yet man is born to trouble
as surely as sparks fly upward.

We may bring hardship on ourselves through our mistakes or our own sin. Hardship may be brought to us by others or through the impersonal presence of evil in the world. God may use the megaphone of pain to get our attention.

There is one thing all hardship has in common.

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We don’t get very far down the road of life without hitting disappointments. Some are like a bug on the windshield, some like potholes, some like a bridge out, and some like being blind-sided.

As children we may first suspect our disappointment is our parents’ fault when we can’t have that sleepover at Jimmy’s. Or, it’s our sister’s fault that we felt such disappointment when “she ate all the Captain Crunch. ” Maybe there was a time when we felt like Santa was the source of our biggest disappointment. To many children, of course, for these to be their only disappointments would be a dream come true.

As we move out of childhood, we are faced with proms, interviews, tryouts, auditions. We have little, everyday hopes about green traffic lights, details working out in our favor, work and school assignments, weather. We have secret hopes about relationships, acceptance, recognition. We have private hopes about marriage, pregnancy, finances, job changes. We have public hopes about recovery, healing, success in ministry or business, college admission. We even have some hopes that are so large and close to the heart that we have never had the courage to say them to ourselves.

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