This is part 3 of the series “Working Through It – When Our Struggles Collide With Our Calling”
When we feel like all our work is for nothing, we can remember nothing we do in faith is ever in vain.
“With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 The Message
In obedience we walk long after the fuzzy feelings of newness and adventure have slumped to a sometimes screeching halt.
When the weather is not sunny out and the funds aren’t coming in like we had hoped they would, we can put our trust in the Lord who is over all that we possess and over our entire being. Like David we pray-sing, “God, help! I am trying but it feels so hard. You are the only one who can rescue me.”
Night says hello and we tuck our children in. We may slip in a few extra minutes of writing to see if we can accomplish just a bit more. Another does a job search because she doubts this is really going to work. She wonders, “What does obedience really look like right now? Do I need to be doing something along with this just in case…?”
Another decides to get a good night’s rest and save the work for the next morning. She awakes and finds her day has already appeared to make plans of its own. She fears, “What if I never get around to writing what’s on my heart?” And she breathes deep to go take care of others.
There are so many situations. Each circumstance is different. Each person such a treasure, each probably doing what they feel God wanted them to do at the time.
Sometimes when obstacles come up, the Godfidence we once had tries to make a bolt for it, chanting phrases like, “Maybe this is the wrong thing for me,” in our darling heads. But God has nothing to do with bolting, so that voice is probably not him right?
However, in our humanness we get a little queasy when things don’t just spread over like butter. We lean toward smoothness over rigidness most days. And it makes sense. We crave knowing. We crave comfort. We want steadiness. We hope for stability. But some days it feels like a mountain is towering over us, making it hard to want to keep going.
When The Mountain Doesn’t Move
Try as we might to do our best, sometimes the mountain just seem to stare us in the face even after we have prayed and believed, or trusted and trudged uphill it’s base.
Though a mountain huge, it is still not God. Nor does it have that kind of power.
I was in the shower one morning when a movie-ish sort of deal started to play in my head. There was a girl…
She was working merrily along her route and came upon a mountain in the very way of her path. Humph.
She got on her knees and prayed. And prayed. And prayed some more.
What was she to do with this bloody thing in her way?
She got up and gave the giant stone a nudge. No budge.
She continued to pray, arose and looked its way. Maybe I should go around. But there was no end to be found.
The vast block was as wide as her eyes could tell, and she only knew this where she was meant to be. So why the obstacle? Why me?
Then she grabbed a tool, liken to a pick axe. She threw that thing over her shoulder and nicked away one ding at a time.
The sun went away and the moon shone bright. Each day’s work proved to allow her to wrap her small hands around a clump of rock and pull it out.
I will have to pile these somewhere to get them out of the way. She turned around and a sea there lay.
Casting the stones into the blue, she turned to work and make her path through.
Day by day, she chipped away at the mountain — by faith she kept on.
After this mini movie, I hopped out half-dried and ran to my wrinkled and unorganized paper so I could scribble down my thoughts. In time after pondering all this, I felt like God whispered to me, “Sometimes you don’t cast the whole mountain into the sea at once. Sometimes it’s bit by bit. Piece by piece. Day by day, trusting in me.”
You see, I had always pictured the verse Mark 11:23 to be like an instantaneous happening. Every now and again I feel like if I pray and a mountain doesn’t move, that I don’t have enough faith or what it takes to do what I truly believe God led me to do.
“It isn’t the quantity of our faith but the object of our faith….Our faith doesn’t thrive when we think about how much faith we have; it springs up when we behold our God—when we see Jesus as the One crucified and risen for us.” –
This was really profound for me because I tend to put a lot of weight on faith itself and forget that it isn’t about the faith alone but why we have been gifted it. Or better yet, for Whom.
I think maybe with this mini movie God set in my mind, He was trying to remind me that things don’t always go the way I think they should. That just because there’s an obstacle it doesn’t take away from the mission he set me on, or the path he has already directed me to.
That walking in obedience and stumbling into a hard wall doesn’t always mean I went the wrong way. Maybe it just means I have to practice perseverance as trust is continued.
I think about the story of Joshua and the army of Israelites right about here. Man, they were probably fighting off some human thoughts while marching around the entire city of Jericho for a week, right? But the leader knew what God has said, so they kept going.
Seeing that girl hurl a stone one chunk at a time into the sea made me think about how the calling isn’t always easy. But the keeping on when we want to quit is so vital. And I should know. I have quit almost as many things as I have started.
Another thing that came to mind when I pictured all this, was that the girl could in no way rush this job. There was only so much she could physically handle each day. But in the daily grinding against the impenetrable force — she gained ground, inch by inch.
Maybe it isn’t something the millennial generation wants to hear. We like to go as fast as we can and accomplish much in a short time. But what if our calling is less about how much we cram in and get done — and more about trusting God with the assignments, timing and results?
The girl didn’t even try to go faster than her little arm could swing. I am assuming she was doing as best as she could already.
God has a way of speaking. What has he said to you lately?