Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Stopping Too Soon!

Our culture struggles with sticking it out. We have difficulty keeping commitments. Difficulty persevering. Difficult times in a marriage often lead to divorce... difficult times in family relationships lead to cutting people out... difficult times in training and teaching our children lead many to seek a newer, flashier parenting method... difficult times in a job means it's time to get a new one.

Life has not always been so very disposable. People stuck it out. Perhaps it was because they knew that even though bad times come, good times will come again. This is part of the curse of easy mobility, and of living in a non-communal society. It is also a result of having so very many options from which to choose. Sometimes, too, I feel like we (generally speaking) stop things before we give ourselves a chance to get good at them and develop endurance and skill in the tasks/roles we're being asked to carry out.

All marriages go through times of difficulty, no matter how strong the initial feelings of being "in love" are... the ones that stick it out aren't those that are perfect, but rather, those that make it are those that don't quit. All parents go through seasons of difficulty with their children-- whether it's personality conflicts, difficulty in understanding a particular age/season, disobedience, physical disabilities, just the daily needs, or other struggles. All workers go through times of disliking their job.

All mothers face times of realizing that their own strength and wisdom is not enough to get them through... but instead of turning to God in those moments of weakness, fury, or desperation, children get abused. Or abandoned. Or left to, essentially, raise themselves. Or left to be raised by culture. Even by Christian parents.

But just because something is HARD does not mean we need to stop it. If we all followed that logic, no one would ever run a marathon. Or build a skyscraper. Or manage a business. Or make it to a "golden anniversary" of fifty years married to the same person. Or get a doctorate. Or raise a child without bailing on him/her before they are raised.

We as Christians need to be aware of the draw of this mentality and not run away when things get tough. Our Lord warned us-- "in this life you will have troubles". There are some things in life we can count on, and that is one of them. So instead of just thinking, "MAKE IT STOP!" whenever we face struggles, let's yield to the pressure of our maker, knowing that the Potter doesn't make mistakes... when He puts us into difficult situations, He has purposes in them.

Sometimes the solution may include looking for a new job, or finding ways to "solve" the problem. But, generally, I think we as a people (me included!) need to learn more about perseverance... sticking it out when the going gets tough. What say you?

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