These days of testing strain my soul. This missionary life is a challenge worth living. This missionary life gets old.
Have you entered a path before that resists all sensible success? The measurements fail to report the real impact and influence? Those are hard days.
Many endeavors will only show fruit visible to others after you have moved to another endeavor. You must continue in faith not fact. You must center your days in Christ not conquest.
During a year of depressive business results, I struggled silently. In conference with my senior executive I struggled out loud. He was an honest man, so forthright conversation was easy. Honest men are rare.
John looked at me and said, “Phil, you will find in your hardest years, you have grown the most.”
He believed in me. He spoke faith into me. We need those people.
At the close of a prosperous year, under different leadership, the response was not so warm. This cockle-hearted executive glared and shared political lies. The demeanor showed neither belief in me nor the project. (Read here for good stories of good leaders Five Leadership Tips for Tough Times Every Mature Executive Needs to Learn.
In both moments the words of Rudyard Kipling simmer up from my memory.
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
It is a trap to let the confidence or lack of confidence of others be your guide.
In Christ, we have a confidence based on a living hope. He is that hope. He believes in us and stands with us in measured and unmeasured success. He keeps us with His power and ability. Our power and ability is temporary at best and short lived at times. The measurements change with the whims and wants of others.
In Christ, the measuring stick stays the same. He looks at but one point of decision. Are you in the family? Have you surrendered your life to the Father through Him? All else falls to the side and He keeps, protects, guides, forgives, and empowers based on that truth. In hard fought losses and wins, He is on your side.