There are days when trying our utmost isn’t enough — personally, or as a family. At times we feel as though we have used all our strength trying to surmount the seemingly impossible obstacles placed in front of us. Before losing hope, consider tapping into the power we often forget is there for us and our families.
Terence M. Vinson, a former teacher, lecturer, and CEO tells the story of a young boy was trying to smooth out the dirt area behind his house so he could play there with his cars. There was a large rock obstructing his work. The boy pushed and pulled with all his might, but no matter how hard he tried, the rock wouldn’t budge.
His father watched for a while, then came to his son and said, “You need to use all your strength to move a rock this large.”
The boy responded, “I have used all my strength!”
His father corrected him: “No you haven’t. You haven’t had my help yet!”
They then bent down together and moved the rock easily.
Identify your obstructions
In our lives we struggle with difficulties like physical health, family unity, addictions, mental disorders, financial problems and many others. Sometimes our problems are easily dealt with and other times they weigh us down until we feel as though we will surely be crushed.
The boy in the story had an easy time recognizing his problem: there was a rock in the way of his play area. Oftentimes, our problems are just as easily discernible. But other times they aren’t. There will be times in our lives when we think we have recognized what our problems are, only to realize later on that we were struggling with something else entirely. One example of this misidentification is a couple who is considering divorce. They may think their problem is incompatibility when really, after some deep soul-searching, it is that they have not focused enough on being more selfless and loving.
Grow through struggles
The father watched his son struggle for a time before offering to help. Similarly, we often spend time, sometimes a short amount and other times an exceeding amount, trying to lift burdens by ourselves. God sees us struggle and he has the power to make our problems go away. But he usually doesn’t for a very good reason; he wants us to develop faith and reliance in him.
While we dislike it in the moment, struggling can help us in the long term. Athletes understand the pain and discomfort of training for competitions. Yet they know that without the time and effort put into practices it would be impossible to build the muscles and skill needed for them to win. Our own personal trials can be viewed as training for our mental and emotional muscles. While this training can be excruciatingly uncomfortable, if we use it correctly we can grow.
Pay attention to reminders
The father reminded his son that he had access to more strength. But the son either ignored or misunderstood his meaning and continued struggling. Similarly, we receive reminders from God that he is there waiting to help, but we often ignore him. Sometimes, those reminders come from the voices of friends or family, offering their help. But, we stubbornly tell them we are fine and continue struggling by ourselves. Other times, we may receive promptings from God, encouraging us to turn to him in prayer. But, our cynicism asks how praying about something as tangible as our particular problem could possibly help.
When we choose to ignore the reminders God sends us we show we have not completed learning from our struggles. It is only when we humble ourselves and ask that we will be ready to receive God’s load-lightening help.
Recognize God's supreme strength
Depending on our different personalities and unique trials, God’s strength will assist us and our families in different ways. Sometimes he helps by removing our trial. Most of the time, however, he will help by showing us different ways to overcome our difficulties or by helping us become stronger so we can deal with our pain. Whatever his method, dealing with struggles is always much easier when we let God help us. He has promised his help — all we need to do is ask and let him lead the way. Jesus Christ knows and understands each of our pains. A man well acquainted with grief and sorrow, he is the ultimate source for solace.