It’s hard to believe that it was snowing just last week. Today, though overcast and cloudy, it is in the 50’s and most of my crocuses are blooming.Finally, the roads are cleared of snow and ice and I can start walking again. But the long winter has taken it’s toll. I’ve packed on a few pounds and those joints that were starting to stiffen a bit anyway, have now forgotten whatever elasticity they might have had. I guess I’ll keep walking and add some basic yoga strecthes to loosen up. Since my year round, part time job is rather sedentary in nature it is natural that I slow down as the seasons turn cold. But my other seasonal, part time job will be starting up at the end of this month and I will need to get back into some kind of shape to withstand to rigors of long hours on your feet in the retail world. I go through this every winter and you’d think that after a few years I would catch on but the spring shape-up has become an annual ritual.
The thing we need to remember is that our bodies were meant for regular physical exercise. Even as we age and muscles lose strength, it doesn’t mean that we can stop moving or even push ourselves to move a bit more. The bursitis in my feet, the stiffness of my nerve-damaged knees and the soreness of my shoulders and elbows give me plenty of excuses to stop, but the struggles to get up despite the pain is actually rewarding. In fact, this perserverance is a great confidence builder. As I keep trying to strike that downward dog pose (my wrists don’t seem to like that one), i can feel my self esteem rise and some days I surprise myself with how much i can do.
This is why struggle is such a good thing. It pushes us forward and keeps up focused on goals. Struggles – the very thing that we keep asking God to remove from our lives – serves a purpose. They allow us to stretch and grow and extend ourselves beyond what might have been limiting you just the day before.
But there is more…
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned , this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”
So why do bad things happen to good people? We have been asking this question for a long time now. Books have been written, movies produced and still we ask “Why?”. Yet, Jesus’ answer is very simple. It has nothing to do with the person and everything to do with God. In other words, our struggles help us to see God at work in our lives. Not only that, but if you continue to read on in the chapter, you will see that as the man’s faith and trust in Jesus grows, his vision becomes clearer and those who witness this miracle are being given hope for their own struggles. You see, when you trust God with your struggles, you will always see good come out of it. Didn’t the Israelites come out of bondage in Egypt with gold and other riches from their former captors? But all that wealth was never meant to make their lives more comfortable. It was meant to be used in the building of the tabernacle so that they could continue to worship God, their very life source. It was never meant for them, but for God’s glory. And this would bring others from the pagan nations around them into a relationship with God. This same principle is at work in the story of the blind man that Jesus healed. His changed life points people to the God who changed him. And it still continues today. As we face trials in our lives, if we look to Christ, we will see His glory lining up with our needs. And our faith will cause those in our lives to look to God also.
One more thought, Jesus prayed in John 17:15:
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.”
Even as we are asking God to lift whatever burden we might be struggling with, we need to realize that He may say “No, I’m not taking this one away but I will protect you as you deal with it.” He is always there to help us,
as we struggle…
…as we grow…
…as we dream…
..as we live the life that we have been given by the One who wil carry us through and then carry us