We all need rescuing sometimes, right? Goodness knows I do!
I have been off work sick this week, which has required me to rest and – you know – not work, something which I’m not especially good at. The first day I did nothing much of anything besides sleep. The second day I did actually go into work, only to leave before the first lesson started. Today, I have still been resting, but I’ve been thinking a lot too, and thinking for me always involves writing.
I have to admit that since my brain has been a bit befuddled this week I haven’t done much Bible study, but I have still been reading my ‘Jesus Calling’ devotional each morning and yesterday had this beautiful line:
Do not resist or run from the difficulties in your life. These problems are not random mistakes; they are hand-tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth.
– Jesus Calling, May 10th
Let’s be honest, how many of us, when we’re going through something difficult, think, ‘Wow God, thanks so much for this tailor-made growth opportunity!’? I’ll be honest first: I don’t think that! What I usually think goes along the lines of, ‘Really, God? Again. Can’t we just cut this part out and head straight to the happy ending part?’
Struggles, difficulties, trials – whatever you want to call them, we all have them. One person’s struggle is different to another. It’s like I tell my kids in class, what’s difficult for one person isn’t difficult for everyone, and that’s okay. I find resisting dessert difficult, some don’t. I find crowds difficult, some don’t. I find looking in the mirror difficult, some don’t. I find watching the ending of the seventh Fast and Furious movie without crying difficult, some don’t.
What’s difficult for one may not be difficult for another. You might be going through a difficult time right now; you might not be.
Paul had his fair share of difficulties. As he begins his second letter to the church at Corinth, he speaks of his own struggles and trials. As I began to look for more detail at what those trials were that he was speaking of, I found that it isn’t clear which exact battles he is referring to. Commentaries say it could be the fun Artemis-inspired ruckus talked about in the second half of Acts 19, but they also say it could be something else entirely. Essentially, Paul had that many fun times he could be talking here about any one of them! But whatever it was, it was a big enough battle for him to feel like the way out was less than clear, less than reachable.
We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally – not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. – 2 Corinthians 1:8-10
There’s no shame in admitting when things get tough. It’s not a sign of weakness to be struggling. Maybe Paul was thinking grateful thoughts as the hard times hit. Or maybe he wasn’t. But what he does do after the event is look back and see that it was a ‘hand-tailored’ opportunity for growth. Why? Because that difficulty forced him to stop trying to solve his problems on his own and look to God. It forced him to stop trying to blag, fight, or run his way out of whatever hard thing was pressing down on him, and instead say, in complete submission, ‘Okay God, you got this’.
And what happened when he did that? When he leaned completely on God?
He got rescued.
It’s not easy. It really isn’t. To be in the midst of a difficulty or struggle that seems too much to bear or that blinds you to any way out; to stop flailing your arms and lift your tired head up to God when you’re in that darkness? Not easy. Asking for help is difficult for some of us, maybe not so for others. But we are so used to fighting and proving our own strength in this world that it’s almost always difficult to accept that – sometimes – you can’t do it alone, that sometimes you need to let someone rescue you.
And if you’re going to let anyone rescue you, it might as well be God. I mean, He did create and save the whole world. Not a bad pick for a knight in shining armor…!
So whatever difficulty you are facing right now, it’s not okay but it will be okay, because you have someone just waiting to rescue you. Let Him.