Pray for the Strength to Endure

Pray for the Strength to Endure

  • Has life ever gotten so hard and you wished it could somehow be easier?
  • Has the weight of life's problems ever been so great that you wondered if there was a better way?
  • Have you ever wondered what an easy life would be like?

Have you ever wondered at the "cost" of an easy life?

Push the rock.

There is an old story of a man who was told by the Lord to push a stone.

All day he would push this stone with the intent to move it. And each night he would finish, and yet the stone was still there. Each morning he would arise and work at it. Sometimes he felt like giving up, but he kept at it.

One day the Lord returned. The man told the Lord that he had failed. The Lord asked him why he thought he had failed. "Because the stone is still there. I have tried again and again to move it, and yet it hasn't moved a bit."

"When did I ever tell you to move it?" came the Lord's reply. "I only said to push it. Look at yourself. When I first came, you were weak. Now you are strong. Before you and your mind were direction-less. Now you know how to focus and persevere. You know the power of purpose."

The man didn't think of how the rock (his troubles) might actually be helping him. He only thought of himself in terms of outward success or failure. He missed all the good he was gaining.

Reward, in all its glory.

To everything in life, there is a price and a "reward." Notice how I put the words "reward" in quotes. Most the time we think of reward as being something good. Yet reward be definition means "Something given or received in recompense for worthy behavior or in retribution for evil acts."

You can have a bad reward for something.

Like the reward of an "easy" life. Think about what it would mean to have an easy life. You get up, do nothing, have your meals served. Watch tv. Play a game. Eat. Watch more tv...

And become weaker and weaker by the moment. Even the act of watching tv may become too much of a chore. Perhaps you'll have your meals spoon fed to you.

Is that really what you want? Where is the growth? Where is the adventure? And say goodbye to love, hope, inspiration, and joy.

Why? Because those take work, and because they require their opposites to enjoy.

Recently I read a book "The Birth we call Death." Great book. In it the author talks about the sorrow we feel when someone passes on. When we loose someone. That sorrow seems to be in direct proportion to how much joy we had at having the person here. The more joy and happiness we had with them, the more sorrow we experience.

If you want to get rid of sorrow, you'll have to give up joy also. And to enjoy Love, Hope, Courage, is to have seen or felt of Hate, Pessimism, and Fear.

Sorry, I guess we can't have our cake and eat it. In short, "Utopia" will never exist in the form of absence of bad, but rather that people choose the good over the bad.

Which takes us to the good rewards.

By Patience and Persistence

One of those good things is good old fashioned work. And I'm not just talking about your job. I'm talking about the things you do in your life to better it, and the ways you are trying to improve yourself. Without an someone else telling you to do so.

Let's go back to the story above. The man was working at trying to move that rock. And he felt he wasn't getting anywhere. He could have given up. He didn't have to work.

But he worked. And toiled. And succeeded.

That which we persist in becomes easier. Not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What things might the rock represent?

  • Starting a exercise program (talk to your doc, blah blah blah)
  • Reading that great book you've always wanted to
  • Stop watching TV
  • And instead build that awesome thing you've desired to
  • Or write a story
  • Or learn an instrument
  • Or spend more time with family and friends
  • ..... the list goes on

I am currently learning an instrument, and I will tell you at first I thought I wasn't getting anywhere. Day after day I'd practice, with little to show for it.

Then I read an article about teaching kids to play. It said we focused too much on trying to make it "fun" and "enjoyable." It said we should instead teach our kids the truth.

It's going to be hard.

Yes, it's going to be hard at first, but with practice it will get easier. And then, once they know it well, it will be both "easy" and fun, because they can really play it.

I could accept that. I could work with that. I like things that are honest and straight forward and yet encouraging, and a bit challenging.

I read that a year ago. I'm still not that good, but I'm seeing progress. Had I stopped before... the thought is hard to think, because I have had so much fun on it. Yes, fun, because I can play it and play it in a way that is enjoyable.

My reward is that it has added another dimension to my life. Some more depth and meaning.

What things could you learn or do today to make your life a little fuller?

In summary:

  • The easy life is actually the "hardest" life because it makes you weak
    • And you get to live with regrets
  • The "hard" life will make you stronger and your problems easier to handle
    • Even though it may not always seem that way
  • We must stick with things for a time before we see good results.
    • No quick fixes, and no easy way outs