Have you ever witnessed something so small and innocent struggling? How about someone not so small and not so innocent?
It’s not for the faint of heart. We immediately want to intervene. We want to stop the pain, stop the suffering, and offer up solutions.
I can imagine an exhaustive list of struggles that we encounter. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some struggle with patience or self control (no more Christmas cookies for me). Still, others struggle to believe that they are loved and forgiven.
I’ve heard it said that “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” I think that this sentiment can be true. I don’t think it is always true. If it were, we would all be walking around like superheroes. In contrast, let us consider “Whatever doesn’t kill you, can make you stronger.” The word “can” changes this entire saying doesn’t it? It’s a slight change, but significant, nonetheless.
Flashback: Chicks Hatching
Imagine this: The chicks are just beginning to hatch in the incubator. The conditions are set (humidity & temperature) and now we just watch and wait. Some chicks just seemed to have materialized all on their own. One moment their eggs were intact and then *boom* there was another chick flopping around. And let me tell you . . . I was checking them all of the time.
But then, I witnessed one, two, three chicks struggling. Honestly, I didn’t keep count. There was just too much excitement and anticipation in the air. Their struggles to break out of the eggs, were all different. Some took hours, while others took less than an hour. One even hatched fairly quickly and then died afterward. I asked myself, “How could he have died after all that work to break free?” There were a few other eggs that just weren’t cracking all the way open. I just wanted to open the incubator and help them! I will save you!
One egg I was sure was going to hatch. We could see him in there for two days, trying to bust out. I mean, I could see him, his beak, and half his body. The egg was flexing and contorting. That chick never did hatch.
The struggle to break out of the egg actually strengthens them. It prepares them. When you remove the egg for them, you set them up for failure. I know what you were thinking . . . that I am mean and wouldn’t save the chick.
God sees us struggling. He’s watching us trying to break free. If He intervenes and removes our burden, our struggle, we may not be made stronger. We just might be made weaker and perish. He gives us what we need and that is sufficient. It is important to know, that although we are struggling, we are not alone. Not ever.
Picture me standing over all these eggs. I was saying “Come on little guys. You can do it.” I can just imagine God doing something similar. He’s rooting for us. He wants us to give Him our burdens because His strength is what keeps us moving forward. I can do all things, in Christ, who strengthens me. He is standing on the sidelines, cheering me on. He’s cheering you on. He is your biggest fan! He is the proudest parent!
I guarantee that all of your problems are not going to ever go away. Nope. Sometimes we have to endure the pain. If I have to struggle, I would at least like to know that I have a cheering section.
If you are struggling, please know this. There is no one more familiar with your hardship than the LORD.
The question is, are you going to let your burden wear you down? Because it will if you let it. It can also make you resentful, bitter, and hard-hearted. No warm, fuzzies in that package.
Anyway, this is what was on my heart the other day as I was reading through Mark chapters 6:45-52. Jesus watched the disciples struggling with the boat and waves. He let them struggle for quite a while until He thought they were ready to see Him walking on the water. The Bible says that Jesus was going to walk right past them. But when He saw the terror on their faces, he had compassion on them and calmed the sea.