This is My Crowd

This is My Crowd
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Friday, March 16, 2012

Why Trouble is Good for You

I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world.
John 16:33 The Message Translation

Photo By: Simon Howden

Dear God,

You created the universe.  You created every planet and every star.  You designed the layout of the universe.  You pieced together my human body, creating every last chromosome.  All of this, You did with just the sound of Your voice.  So, why can't you just pay my bills?  Get me a job I love?  Make me feel better?  Make my children just listen to me?  Make my life easier? 

I acknowledge that You are smarter than me, but these seem obvious.


Your Daughter Brina

If I wrote a letter to God today, that is pretty much what it would sound like.  As a daughter of the Most High, my Father created EVERYTHING and yet I have issue after issue after issue.  Currently, I would say that I'm facing more difficulties than I have since becoming a Christian.  The sheer quantity of the difficulties could be best described as a tsunami, wave after wave.  I can see the issues for what they are, I can see where they come from and that I can choose to climb to higher ground catch some perspective, or I can stay frozen and be overwhelmed.  I'm choosing to climb.

While praying on my drive to work this morning, God brought to mind various human fathers who find themselves rich and powerful, and more importantly He brought to mind their children.  Now, I don't actually know any of these people personally, so I've only got public reports to go off of, but if you think of people that were simply given whatever they wanted, every problem solved for them, no need unmet, the result is never good.  Minimally, they seem to be inconsiderate, operate outside of the law, and have no idea what life is like for everyone else in the world.  In the worst cases, they have no regard for the value of other people or life, itself. 

I know that people like to use the term "spoiled" lightly and interchangeably with "well taken care of", but if you look up the definition of spoiled, this is what you will see:  

a. To impair the value or quality of.
b. To damage irreparably; ruin.
c. To impair the completeness, perfection, or unity of; flaw grievously: spoiled the party.
d. To do harm to the character, nature, or attitude of by oversolicitude, overindulgence, or excessive praise.
a. To plunder; despoil.
b. To take by force.
a. To become unfit for use or consumption, as from decay. Used especially of perishables, such as food.
b. To pillage.

None of that is good.  Often times people like to "spoil" their children and almost all of the time, their children will pay for it.  It's a hard adjustment when you find out that you are not THE most important person on the planet, that you have to wait in line, that you won't get your way, and that you don't always get what you want.  Even the best parent of all time is not perfect and yet would know this; since we find ourselves with a perfect Heavenly Father that already knows this, we can expect not to be spoiled.

Though I think I would like it better if I never had to struggle or sacrifice for anything in life, somewhere, deep down inside, I know that's simply not true.  Never requiring your children to work or mature is bad parenting. 

Sure, God could swoop in and save the day, and I believe that He will if need be, but I know that there are valuable lessons to be learned in the struggle:

1.   Trust - You can't have trust if there is never an opportunity to doubt.
2.   Responsibility - Just sometimes, there is work that I need to do. 
3.   Confidence - God blesses me with the opportunity to do things successfully.  Cheering for my toddler as she puts away her toys is a blessing to me, but it also makes her feel proud!

There are lots of reasons that I allow my children to struggle through situations in their life, but it's only ever the situations that are not detrimental.  Sometimes they get through it themselves and sometimes I have to swoop in at the end and save the day, but I always let them try.  As they get older and more mature, the areas that I let them work a little harder expand.  There are things that I will do for my 6 year old that I would never do for my 10 year old, and by this time next year, that list will have grown and shifted.  Sure, it might make me feel like the hero if I never let my kids do anything for themselves and keep them hobbled, but I'm not that selfish.  Neither is God.

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