In looking back over the past year and a half, I’d like to ask you a question. How has it treated you? It was tough worldwide with all the sickness, natural disasters, crime, and violence. And perhaps you, like many, faced great difficulty like unemployment, the loss of a loved one, or severe health issues.
Or maybe your year was marked more by personal failure. You took a few steps in your spiritual progress, only to discover that your old man wasn’t as dead as you thought he was.
And you failed – once again. Said things you shouldn’t have. Reacted in a wrong way. Or allowed negative, selfish thoughts to rule your heart. And sometimes it’s those personal failures that can get us down the most.
Two choices during difficult times.
- We can either give up thinking, “it’s just too hard.”
- Or we can see that difficulties (even those we create) work for our good.
God allows trials as a way of teaching us to overcome all obstacles and keep running the race, as in the following story…
The strange conduct of the land crab
With a lesson on perseverance.
One of the most useful pioneer evangelists of a certain Samoan mission was a man named Teava, who, after many years of active service returned to his home island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. Though very feeble and bent with age, his place at church was never vacant; and he was ever ready with a word of exhortation. And on one occasion he said…
When I laboured on the island of Tutuila I often felt rebuked by the strange conduct of a large species of land-crab. It bores deep into the soil, the holes sometimes extending a considerable distance.
At night this crab loves to make its way to the sea, for the purpose of laving itself in the salt water and drinking it. Now it sometimes happens that, when hurrying through the tall grass and fern, some of its legs become defiled by contact with filth.
So great is the vexation of this crab at its mishap, that it delays its march to the sea in order to wrench off the offending legs! One may sometimes meet a mutilated individual hobbling along without two or three of its legs—a self-inflicted punishment!
In some rare instances it has been known to wrench off all its eight legs to escape defilement. It is then content to drag itself over the ground with considerable difficulty by means of its nippers, until it reaches its hole, where it hides until the legs partially develop themselves again, though not of their original length and beauty.
(Adaptation of a story from The Biblical Illustrator, in the Public Domain.)
We need that kind of tenacity!
The land crab was determined to reach his goal, and willing to remove anything he saw as an impediment. Even his own legs, even though they were not what was impeding him! All he needed was to continue on to the sea, letting it wash all the impeding sand away.
Yet we too need such tenacity in removing obstacles. Not to the point of cutting our legs off, or even tearing out our hair. I’m not suggesting that! But we need to focus on the finish line – and get rid of anything that impedes us.
Therefore let’s also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…Hebrews 12:1 WEB
Overcoming trials and obstacles
Many of our obstacles come in the form of trials. They’re tough and going through them can even cause wounds or missing pieces.
But it’s important to keep going anyway. Giving in to discourgement or despair doesn’t change a thing – except our ability to fight and overcome. The trials don’t disappear – they remain, thorns in our side or mountains to scale.
But if allow him to, God can use the trials to teach us the tenacity of the land crab. And the trials can become special hidden blessings in our lives.
They can teach us to lay aside every weight or entangling sin. They can teach us to keep going no matter how hard the going gets. They can help us see that God is with us, ready to help us reach the finish line. Even if we do get wounded or battered along the way!
So lay aside every weight and keep going. Because God would rather we reach the finish line bruised and beaten, if necessary, than to never make it all!
Keep going no matter how hard the going gets! For God would rather we reach the finish line wounded and battered (if necessary) than to never make it at all!Tweet