It’s inevitable. We will experience difficult times. Over the last several months, I’ve been close to people who are experiencing extremely difficult times. I’ve sat with these people, listened to them, tried to put myself in their shoes, etc. More often than not, I’ve realized they just needed someone to listen.
As men, I think our initial reaction is to throw a bunch of advice down people’s throat, which doesn’t do any good. It leaves people feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and ineffective. God’s been convicting me of that lately. I am quick to have an answer, yet I rarely take time to truly listen, reason through it, and then give advice.
One friend in particular has been faced with an issue that I would never desire to deal with. Honestly, I believe he’s dealt with it better than most but it’s still a struggle. There have been multiple times over the past few months where me and him have sat together early in the morning and late at night just talking through his “stuff.” My heart breaks for him, however, I know my job is to keep him accountable to staying strong and pressing through all of it.
I received a text message from him a few days ago, which hinted at the fact that he was struggling in that particular moment. My gut reaction was to text him back and say, “Just stay strong. Keep pushing forward.” As I was about to do that, I felt something inside me say, “Slow down, Garret. Just listen…don’t react.” I swallowed my pride and I did exactly that. I said to myself, “Ok, God. I’ll wait on you.”
I picked up my Bible this morning and started reading Joshua Chapter 14. This is where Hebron is given to Caleb. I encourage you to read it. At this point, Caleb is at the age of 85. He was promised an inheritance of land from Moses when he was 40 years old, and he’s just now getting the opportunity to seize this inheritance. As I was reading this, I thought, “Well, what’s he going to do? He’s old. It’s been 45 years since he was given this promise.”
Caleb does the exact opposite of what I thought he would do. He says, “So here I am today, eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day.”
Wow! What a response. Think about it– this is 45 years later! Can you imagine going through turmoil, questioning and frustration for 45 years? Wouldn’t most of us just give up and give in? Caleb finishes well. There’s a certain drive and intensity within him.
When I read that, I immediately picked up my phone and texted my friend back. I said, “Read Joshua chapter 14 today. Be Caleb. Stay strong. Stay focused. Keep pushing forward.”
Friends– life wouldn’t be so hard if all of us didn’t expect it to be so easy. Life is tough. God never promised us a bed of roses. A good friend of mine once told me, “You’re either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or about to go in to a storm.” We will all be faced with difficulties and challenges. I just encourage each of us to be Caleb. Keep the faith. Stay strong. Stay focused. Seize the opportunity to overcome your situation.
Garret Barbush, Executive Director