Tuesday, August 4, 2009

If It Were Easy, Everybody Would Do It

Last night around 9pm, my little Michael came home from his second football practice of the season. I could tell when he walked (or should I say hobbled) into the door, that he was hurting. He had that look on his face that said, "I really want to flop down in your lap and bawl my little eyes out, but that would not be very manly so I wont do that".

Instead, he gradually made his way to the couch, winced as he slowly sunk into the cushions, and in his little boy voice, began to tell me his every ailment. He had a bad headache. He was congested. His back hurt. He had turned both of his ankles and they hurt. His foot hurt where he had fractured it earlier in the summer and it looked a little swollen again. His thighs were hurting, front and back. His arms were too sore to pull himself up. Then he pleaded for an Advil, some chocolate milk and a cookie.

Even at the tender age of 9 years old, football is hard. Football consists of relentless drills, running, lunges, hitting, pushups, throwing, leg lifts, and falling. Although football is my very favorite sport, I do have to feel sympathy for those that actually hit the field - especially when my sweet little man is one of them.

As my son continued to complain, which got worse as the evening went on, I couldnt help but console him, and try to care and comfort him, waiting on him hand and foot so he didnt have to experience any more soreness than necessary. This, of course, resulted in a scolding from my husband (one of his football coaches I might add), as he instructed me to quit babying him. (but I cant help myself!)

In the midst of my husband/coach reminding me that my son is a football player, not a baby, he said some profound words. "If it were easy, everybody would do it".

I have to admit, that even though my hubby is not known for his overwhelming sense of sympathy, his words rang true in my heart. Although I desperately want to keep my little boy safe from harm, I do admire him for wanting to play such a tough sport, for not taking the easy way out, and for being willing to persevere and continue doing something he loves, even when the going gets tough. Even when it hurts. Even when he gets hit hard... time and time again.

I thought about this statement all day today. For some reason, it just stuck with me, and I found myself pondering how much I need to apply this simple truth to my own life.

Life can hit hard too sometimes. We might get knocked down, even when we didnt see it coming. It might be a little punch, a painful hit, or a glancing blow that brings us to our knees. But the truth is,that it is not about how hard we get hit, but rather its about how hard we can get knocked down and still find the strength through Christ to move forward.

If faith were easy, everybody would be walking around on mountaintops all the time. Instead we have to trust in Gods sovereignty, even when we dont like what is happening in our life. We have to depend on His Word to hold us up during hard times, to encourage us when we are down, and to help us persevere when we want to quit.

If marriage were easy, everybody would be happily married. But statistics prove that divorce is at an all time high, even among Christian marriages. Instead, we have to walk in love, even when we dont want to. We have to forgive, even when it may not be deserved. We have to hold our tongues from responding in anger, even if what we have to say is valid and right. We have to persevere when we want to quit.

If parenting were easy, everybody would have perfect children, with no worries of drugs, sex, abortion and alcohol. No worries of our children walking away from the Lord and making bad decisions that will affect them for a life time. Parenting is hard work, every minute of every day. Some parents grow so weary of trying to be a good parent, and not seeing positive immediate results, that they give up and unassumingly grant the child too much freedom, offering them an open invitation to complete despair. Parents have to persevere, even when we feel like quitting.

If dealing with the illness of a loved one, or our own illness were easy, we wouldnt need to depend on God. We wouldnt need to seek His face and desperately pray for His strength, wisdom, and healing. Coping with illness through extreme faith takes hard work; a commitment to Christ; a dependence on Him; a complete surrender to His will, even when it does not line up with our will. We have to persevere in trusting Gods plan, even when we dont understand the plan.

Life is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But not everybody does it. Some people are alive physically, without being alive spiritually. Some are married, without being engaged or committed to the marriage. Some are parents, without being willing to be the parent God called them to be. Some are sick, without the hope of healing or the gift of eternal life.

God does not only exist in the easy places of life, where everybody makes sense, where everybody agrees with us, where everybody treats us kindly, where everybody follows the rules and makes good choices. A life where everything is good and pleasant, where problems belong to someone else and where heartbreak lives in other peoples hearts. God lives in the hard places too.

Life is hard. Faith is hard. Its not easy to have faith when life is hard. But that is why it is called faith - believing in the unseen, and trusting an invisible God.

Have you gotten hit with life lately? Have you been knocked down to your knees? If you are like most of us, your answer is yes. Small hits, or big hits, they are hits just the same. But how long do you stay down? Do you wallow in self pity and stay stuck in the pit that you fell into, or do you reach somewhere deep inside of you and pull out every ounce of faithful courage within you that can lift you back on your feet? Are you trusting God, or blaming God? Do you quit, or persevere?

Lets commit together today to be the exception. To be the ones that keep going, even when the hits are hard. The rewards of perseverance through Christ will far outweigh the temporary benefits of taking the easy way out. Its not easy, but through our God, we can do it.

Prayer is asking for rain and faith is carrying the umbrella. (Barbara Johnson)

Faith is not an easy virtue; but, in the broad world of a person's total voyage through time to eternity, faith is not only a gracious companion, but an essential guide. (Theodore M. Hesburgh)

It need not discourage us if we are full of doubts. Healthy questions keep faith dynamic. In fact, unless we start with doubts we cannot have a deep-rooted faith. One who believes lightly and unthinkingly has not much of a belief. One who has a faith which is not to be shaken has won it through blood and tears--has worked his or her way from doubt to truth as one who reaches a clearing through a thicket of brambles and thorns. (Helen Keller)

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Angie said...

Wow!! Yes, that is what I say so many times after reading your blogs. I can always take something from what you say and relate it to a past or present experience. And lately I have had more of those light bulb moments. Getting something for the first time or seeing it clearly.

Yes, I have taken some blows in recent months. Some gut punching, take your breath blows. I'm quilty. I will say in the beginning I found myself staying down after a punch. Mainly because I didn't know how to get back up. I had not really experienced faith. I didn't like what was going on in my life but I wasn't trusting Him to fix things.

I kept reading blogs or devotions saying give God your burdens and He will carry them for you. I would reach that broken point and say I couldn't do it any more and give it to God. Well I thought by giving it to Him all would be fixed. Not so. My troubles would still be there so I would pick that burden back up. Faith....there I lacked.

Little by little, one baby step after another, I was starting to experience faith. I was praying for specific things in my life. Things that I wanted to change, things that needed to change and these things could only be changed by Him. ~faith - believing in the unseen~ Little things started happening in my life. Little things started changing. Changes that only could come from Him. He was showing me how to have faith.

The punches didn't stop. Neither did my falling down. But getting up became easier. Sure, it's easier to stay down but who wants to stay there? Not me! Not anymore!! I have recently experienced the rewards of perseverance and now know what it means to have faith!

It's not easy, but through our God, I Can Do It!

JD said...

To defend you to your husband ;op, I'd say to baby him would be to not let him play. Rather, you were extending GOD's love and affection for him - GOD's compassion on us as we go through our trials. HE knows each of our hurts and can give us those little encouragements to keep us going.

And tell him, too, how it is often said that men act like babies when they're sick, so it's just a typical male thing. :o)

B His Girl said...

Your title fits with what God is asking me to do. Thanks. I have work to do.B

Danielle said...

I know there are days that I'm physically alive, but I feel as if I'm spiritually dead... or at least withering. I allow things to infringe on my time with God and it only serves to keep me down and out. God never said that this life would be easy... but He did promise that if I look to Him, HE would give me the strength to go on.

Thank you for this post! I am on to the next in line.;-)

Esther said...

Thank you for sharing Tracie, it spoke right to my heart. I needed to read that, as I ponder the hardness of life, but Faith always shines through :)
God bless you and your ministry!