I recently watched my grandson struggle to climb up into a chair. I chose not to help him. Not because I’m mean but because I love him.
After all my years of parenting, and with a little common sense thrown in for good measure, I know that if a child can’t climb up, he won’t be able to climb down. If I helped him up he wouldn’t have the skills or strength he needed to get down without injury. I didn’t help my grandson, but I was right there with him allowing him to struggle (and yes, taking pictures – shameful, I know!). Like I cheered on my grandson (and took pictures), Jesus cheers us on in our struggles and says,
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 3:16
As an adult, I’ve learned, begrudgingly at times, that God knows what we can handle and what we can’t. He allows us to struggle, not because He’s mean, but because He perfectly loves us. He knows when we need struggle through our hardships to come out stronger on the other side. It’s simply good parenting.
He knows that the struggle makes us stronger—even when we cry about it—and maybe especially when we cry about it. (You know it’s okay to cry, right? I hope so. I’m learning that myself.) I’ve also learned that just as I long to comfort my grandson through his struggle, the Lord longs to comfort me as well. The struggle might make us cry but it also makes us stronger.
Our struggles are real but so are the rewards. After the tears, when you can, get back up and keep climbing. Your reward might be just over that next hill.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
Bring on the reward. Bring on the peace. Who’s with me?
(Pics are of my adorable grandson, Owen. No harm was done in taking them. He was busy climbing and crying and getting stronger. He didn’t even notice. 🙂 That boy makes my whole heart happy! His mama gave me permission to use the pics here.)