Why does everything have to be so hard?
We’ve just been up to Vermont for a long weekend of helping mom with settling the estate, doing landscaping, and tending to the to-do lists that keep growing. And while it’s a joy to be able to help, each achievement breeds another two to-dos. We spoke with the new financial planner, yes, but that means having to decide on a new annuity. We moved all the piles of sand from around the property, but that meant we didn’t get to clean out the garage very much. And so on.
Please don’t misunderstand. We wouldn’t have traded the weekend for anything (well, except for seeing dad again, but…), and we really did enjoy seeing everyone. It’s just that there’s always Something Else. We go to file the probate paperwork, only to discover there’s another form with another signature that we have to hunt up… Mary really wishes she could just be up there all the time, there’s that much to do.
I read a devotional recently that got me to thinking about why everything has to be so hard. Doesn’t becoming a Christian mean life gets easier? No, actually, it doesn’t. Salvation makes things better eventually, but the One who died a horrible death on a cross would be the first to say, “I never promised it would be easier.”
And that leads me to wonder: what if all our struggles to find ease and comfort, what if all our efforts to just be free of all our burdens, means we miss out on a bigger point?
What if our problems aren’t meant to drive us to solutions, but rather, into the presence of and a deeper relationship with God?
What if our problems aren’t a source of pain and frustration, but a source of even greater faith?
It’s easy, and wrong, to say that “God won’t give you anything you can’t handle.” It’s wrong because it misses the point: the point of life isn’t to be free of annoyances and frustrations and pain and to-do lists, but instead, to come to know God as provider, as deliverer, as healer…to learn to trust that truth even when we hurt, or it’s not going the way we want it to be.
The whole of the Christian journey is one of abandoning our selves, and with it our own problems and worries, and learning to pursue God in our difficulties, to find He is our relief.
That’s not to diminish the importance of the to-dos. It doesn’t downplay the pain or the frustration. But it does invite us to reframe them, not as something I can achieve, but something with God in which I seek to understand, What is your lesson for me in this, Lord?
This week it’s the estate to-dos. Next week it’s the next year’s budget at work. The week after that, the kids’ school plans for the year. Then after that…?
When will we learn, He is all we actually need?