Sometimes it feels that it ‘never rains but it pours’. One thing comes after another and you feel beaten down by the harsh winds of life. You begin to feel that it isn’t fair as you compare your circumstances to those of others who seem to be coasting easily through life. Take this battered grass - it’s nearly over and one more strong wind might just snap it. You know the proverb about the straw that breaks the camel’s back and you wonder how much more you can take… genuinely.
- ‘Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it’ - Charles R Swindoll
- ‘It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop’ - Confucius
- ‘The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places’ - Ernest Hemingway
Words are easy but coping in the middle of crises is not.
Ernest ‘Papa’ Hemingway was a reporter in both World Wars showing much courage whilst seeing much horror. He married four times but was divorced three times. He had multiple illnesses and accidents. In 1954, he was involved in two air crashes on successive days, surviving but with injuries that badly affected his future health leading to depression and made worse by heavy drinking. Several people close to him committed suicide - his father-in-law, his own father, plus his brother and sister. Any of these circumstances alone were devastating but it was possibly the death of friends that tipped him over the edge and he sadly took his own life in 1961 at the age of 61.This isn’t the way it has to be or is meant to be.
- ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full’ - John 10:10
To be ‘strong at the broken pieces’ of life is not to take your own life. ‘Kintsugi’ is a Japanese practice where gold is used to repair pottery, but this does not make it able to withstand the next slam that comes, pretty as it may look and ‘nice-sounding’ as it is. Whilst there is strength in the gold, the rest of the vessel is still just as vulnerable to destruction. So how can we live with weakness such that it can be a place of strength?
- ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’ - 2 Corinthians 12:9
Recognising weakness is the key to receiving strength. The grace of God is enough for any and every experience for it means no longer having to cope alone. Somehow in this process we turn away from the weakness and turn to God - as we do, the strength of gold comes into our character.
- ‘But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold’ - Job 23:10
You may know others whose lives have been tough and yet there seems to be a thread of gold in them. It’s very likely that God has been deeply at work in them.
- ‘”Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly”’ - Matthew 11:30 (The Message)
- ‘A bent reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not snuff out. He will faithfully bring forth a just verdict’ - Isaiah 42:3
So then, if you feel you can’t take any more, then don’t! Invite God to take it for you and with you. In doing so, you will find new strength, a refreshed outlook on life and a positivity that will inspire others.
TAGS – crisis, desperation, help, second chance, perseverance