What are You Still Doing Here?

by Joanna Pierce on February 20, 2019

Difficult. That’s a word that doesn’t rank at the top of my favorite concepts list. Difficult to me is bad news, something wrought with much labor, or will really put my patience to the test. In itself, difficult is hard and undesirable. But, combine it with the word people and you’ve just created a living nightmare.

Difficult people—they’re everywhere. I can’t escape them. Have you noticed this? No matter how you hide, they always find you. And, they get in the way…always. I try to leave their vicinity and hope that when I return, they will have vacated the area. But, to no avail, they’re still there. And, it takes everything within me to keep from screaming, “What are you still doing here?”

I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land (Exodus 23:29–30, KJV).

I can only imagine that the Nation of Israel shared my perspective on difficult people when they were introduced to the Promised Land. It was full of difficult people too—Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Those people were idol worshippers, aggressive, did things the wrong way, and were occupying their Promised Land! D-I-F-F-I-C-U-L-T!

God had given Israel this land as a blessing, but smack dab in the middle of all of it were these heathen nations. I’d be asking them, “What are you still doing here? Get out—this is my land!” But, would you know it? God had those people (difficult people) stay there for a bit while Israel got settled in.

While nearly relegating myself to the fact that difficult people will always be here to stay, God called this Scripture to my attention. Yes, the difficult people will be present for a time, and seem to invade our blessing. But, they have a purpose in the grand scheme of things.

God said the heathen nations would remain because they would continue to help care for the land. If God had removed all the difficult people immediately, the land would have become desolate. The blessing to God’s people would have turned into something that wasn’t such a blessing after all.

God knows that by keeping difficult people around us, they really help rather than hurt us. While it doesn’t seem, or even feel like it, they’re there for a purpose. Over time as God develops godly characteristics in us—longsuffering, patience, meekness, etc.—He’ll start eliminating the difficult parties from our lives as we become ready to actually handle the blessing God has in store for us.

As Israel grew stronger and increased (in number, wisdom, strength, etc.), God would drive out the difficult people from among them. And, the blessing, the Promised Land, would be left for them to occupy alone and in peace.

You might be finding yourself in a place where you feel surrounded by difficult people. You might be ready to scream, “What are you still doing here!” But, take a step back, take a breather, and realize what God’s really trying to do in your life. Is He preparing you for a greater blessing? Is He working something in you? Developing something in you? Is it only for a season?

Lord, help us to see the good in the difficult people around us. Thank you for not allowing our blessing to turn into desolation. You have perfect timing and perfect plans. We don’t need to wonder why these difficult people are still here—You already know. We just need to figure it out with Your help.