…In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world. John 16:33
You learn the funniest things at the park! The middle lovelies had their class field day this week and I spent the afternoon watching, laughing and learning. It was a great afternoon that took a hard left from the afternoon that the teachers envisioned. There were games and activities planned but instead the kids had a simpler plan that revolved around just being together and enjoying buckets of water. As I watched the antics unfold, I learned a lot about how we approach life. I have a whole prayer list of folks right now who are suffering or struggling with something. For some it’s health, others its kids, grandkids, worry, grief or finances. Each of these stories tugs at my heart and watching the kids chasing after each other with their buckets of ice-cold water made me think about those on my list.
Each and every person I know struggling right now has asked for prayers for God to “fix” the situation; to stop the pain or restore things. These are completely logical reasons to ask for prayer but the morning of field day I came across this quote from John’s Gospel and I realized we don’t really listen to these words. We don’t want trouble and when it comes all we want to do is run away from it. Never once has someone asked for me to pray that they will enjoy the trouble or be still and content in the trouble or revel in what God might be doing in the midst of our struggle. We want to run from it, escape it and we can get madder than a wet hen when it we can’t pray our way out of the things that are hard or uncomfortable. The Holy Spirit brough this verse to mind and showed me what it looks as I watched the kids play.
As adults, we overcomplicate things. We make plans and orchestrate schemes when God is saying, just sit here and rest with me. Just be present and trust me to handle the details. Just know I’m working good in this trouble and the good might not even be for you…I might be teaching you something in this trouble that will allow you to help someone else. We don’t always see that when we’re trying to run from the trouble. The kids didn’t care about the details they just wanted to enjoy the simple pleasures of running up the slide and drenching their friend running around the corner. There were a few kids who fought and ran and yelled and threw a fit about not wanting to get wet. The harder they tried to run from the water and the bigger the deal they made of things the more it kept them from truly being a part of the fun around them. Once they finally let their guard down, they tended to be the ones who had the best time because they could join together fully with everyone around them and enjoy the friendship and fun of the day. They began to see it isn’t just about them…it’s about the connections.
There were the kids who would dodge and weave and hide behind things to avoid the flying water but once they allowed themselves to be drawn in they embraced the shock of the cold water and the fun of surprising someone else…it became for them a great example of giving and receiving joyfully. The thing I really noticed were the kids who had the “bring it on” attitude. They were the ones who just stood still and let the water wash over them. They didn’t run, hide or try to escape, they simply let it come and they perhaps had the greatest influence of all because they had a sprit of acceptance and realized the shock of the cold was only temporary but the fun of it all was their focus. They were ultimately the ones who drew in all the others.
What seemed like an epic water fight turned out to be so much more. As we began to head back to school all drippy and tired, the laughter followed. The sense of togetherness and friendship was so fun to see. There was a change that happened because of what they shared together. We aren’t meant to struggle alone and we aren’t meant to run and hide…when trouble comes, invite Him in and allow others to walk with you and help you see the hand of Christ along the way. Jesus shared this thought because he wanted us to remember that our troubles are what help us grow in holiness.
A Seed To Plant: Put this verse in your prayer area and as you pray it, make a list of your troubles and say, “Jesus, help me stop running and trying to escape so I can feel your presence and allow you to use this trouble for your Glory.”
Blessings on your day!
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