Absorbing Difficulty for God’s Glory
The warmth of the sun and the glowing reds, yellows and oranges of the leaves beckoned us to the outdoors and we had to follow the siren call. School work was put on hold to be saved for the rainy, cold days that are promised in our near future.
We had great hopes of traipsing through pumpkins to find our favorites, but our plans were thwarted when the word CLOSED became visible on the entrance sign. I had slowed down to make the right hand turn, but continued on instead. “Perhaps the farm to the left will be open,” I thought to myself and slowed down again to head in a new direction.
Apparently by that time, the person driving the truck behind me was displeased at my indecision and slammed on his horn as he passed me.
And I cried.
It was a bit of an extreme response to a not-that-big-of-a-deal situation, but I had too much pent up emotion and it poured out the moment I was pricked.
My husband had spoken truth over me earlier that day. You are absorbing difficulty for God’s glory. Wise words. Beautiful words. But. My rebellious heart responded with I don’t want to.
Ministry is about absorbing difficulty for God’s glory. It often involves feeling betrayed and being mistreated, ignored or criticized. Most of the time, I am able to accept these difficulties as part of the transformational work that God is after either in my own life or in the lives of those who have hurt me (either intentionally or unintentionally). After all, Jesus said, “Take up your cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 ESV) Ministry is not supposed to be easy and it is the struggle and difficulty that causes me to run to the cross faster than anything else.
But there are days when I have taken too much of it in. When I feel myself collapsing under the weight of it all. When I am at a saturation point and there is no more room to absorb.
As I turned around in the muddy parking lot of the next closed pumpkin patch and headed to the one place I was certain would be open, I reflected and pondered and prayed. Four pairs of eyes were watching me closely, attuned to my emotions. I needed to get a grip.
And then God’s love flooded over me as it always does when I cry out to Him. Becky, you’re not meant to carry all of this. Yes, you will face difficulty for my sake, but they hate ME. Of course they won’t be happy with you. You love me and I know it and that’s all that matters. What they think doesn’t matter.
Deep breaths reverberate through my chest as we pull into the next parking lot, this one flying a welcome flag of OPEN. The invitation draws us in and I begin to feel tranquility wash over me. The bright blue sky contrasting with the bright orange pumpkins and multi-colored mums and the sound of my children’s joy and laughter as they race to find THE pumpkin, remind me to shake off the sadness that has threatened to consume.
You are absorbing difficulty for God’s glory. “But how much can I take?” I wonder.
Well, I can’t take much at all. This I know for sure. I like to think of myself as strong, but the truth is, there is a fragility to me that shocks me at times.
But Jesus! He is my Rock, my Strength and my Redeemer. When I am absorbing difficulty and fully relying on Him, then the difficulty doesn’t stay with me. It’s not mine to fix or to handle. I take it in and pour it out on my Savior. And He takes it all on Himself.
That’s when He’s glorified. When I rest in Him and not in my own strength. I can’t handle much, but I don’t have to, because Jesus is more than enough.
My rebellious heart changes to a redeemed heart. Bring it on! I think, a smile pulling on the corners of my lips.