Do you ever feel like climbing the walls? We saw a literal example of this several years ago when our grandsons would climb the wall – or rather door frame.
There certainly is no way I could do that, when I was his age or now (at a significantly older age!). But, the fact that I cannot literally climb the wall is not an indication that I have never wanted to do so! Tension, anxiety, questions, financial problems, health issues, decisions, worries, … you fill in the blank for your situation … all pile up and I would want to climb the wall, mentally if not physically.
Another response to tension or difficulty is the head in the sand attitude. In our house, it more precisely should be called the MinPin in the blanket response because each of our canine daughters will go to the blankets on the floor, lap or chair and, literally, wrap themselves up, sometimes with a nose sticking out, but most often they will be totally covered. [It is rather humorous when they begin walking out of the blanket, it looks like a blanket-ghost going along the floor!]
I have felt like that too. “Couldn’t I just stay in bed and not face the day? It’s too hard, and there are too many problems to deal with, I just don’t want to face it … I can’t!”
Ralph Ransom is an American painter from Saint Joseph, Missouri who died in 1908, likely from tuberculosis, certainly struggled with problems. He said:
“All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.”
I would take Mr. Ransom’s statement one step farther. For the Christian, “the very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid may be a major building block in our conformation to the image of Jesus Christ.”
In the Christian life, we often find that the time we struggled and had to work hard through a situation or problem was, in fact, the time when we grew the most in our understanding of the love, mercy, and all-sufficient grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:29 says:
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.”
We are to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and sometimes it takes difficulties to bring us into that image. The April 6, 2016, Presidential Prayer Team devotional, Vantage Point, was entitled the “Master Sculptor” and spoke to the connection between suffering and growth in our Christian life. In part it read:
A little boy watched a sculptor begin chiseling a large block of marble. The sculptor worked meticulously until the slab looked like the face of Abraham Lincoln. “How did you do that?” the little boy asked. The sculptor said with a smile, “All I have to do is chip away everything that doesn’t look like Lincoln.”
Pain, persecution, stress and accusations are some of the struggles that believers in Christ often endure. At the time, it may not be known exactly why the Lord has allowed them. However, the loving Father uses trial to chip away at flaws in character. He uses great care and thoughtfulness so that the end result will look like His Son.
Thank God, the Master Sculptor of your soul, for His work in your life and His dedication to your future. Whatever difficulties are happening with you personally (and in the nation), practice patience and trust that He will do His work carefully and creatively. Pray also that America’s leaders who are Christians will allow their trials to draw them to a closer relationship with the Lord and conform their lives to His purposes. [Emphasis mine]
When we want to climb the wall, when we want to hide under the blanket, when we just don’t want to face the difficulty any more – turn your eyes to the Father and thank Him for the problem. Take your eyes off the condition that confronts you and see the One who is in control of that condition. See the Father working in your life to conform you to the image of His Son.
As unbelievable as it sounds to the unregenerate person, thank God for the difficulty and rest in Him to carry you through it.
The reason we can thank God for whatever comes our way is the security that we have in Jesus Christ.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
Paul himself answers these questions in the following verses:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Life in this world is difficult … but we can be confident that the love of Christ will carry us from this world to an eternity with Him. This world is short-lived and temporary; eternity is forever, which by the way is a very long time!
During difficult times we tend to focus on ourselves and our dastardly plight! But, pull your eyes off yourself and look to the cross … look to the Savior … look to the Father who has you in His hands … look to the Son of God who secures you in Him.
Christian, be confident in the knowledge that nothing can separate you from the love of God through Jesus Christ.
Father, help me to remember that You are sovereign and in control of my life and all that happens to me. Help me to recall, during difficult trials, that I am secure in Your love because of my Savior Jesus Christ. Give me strength to face difficult times as I praise Your holy name for the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.