My grandson’s face was flushed and his breathing was labored. He tossed his football helmet into my trunk, and then folded his long body into the passenger seat of my car.
I frowned all the way home from football practice as my grandson relived the morning’s training session. In the unrelenting heat of an early mid-south summer, the coaches had instructed my grandson’s team to run and tackle and do whatever it is that football players do.
Finally, overcome with exhaustion, my grandson had heaved on the sidelines.
I was horrified.
“Those coaches need to lay off!” I insisted.
My grandson smiled politely. “No,” he responded. “I just need to start practicing more so I can get stronger.”
His words stopped me in my tracks.
How typical of me―of many of us―to insist that life should be easy, effortless even. When the going gets tough, someone needs to do something to take the pressure off.
But the world of athletics had taught my grandson there are two ways to relieve a burden―either remove the load or strengthen the shoulder that carries it.
So many times in my life, I’ve cried out to God to remove the load. To change my circumstances and make them easier.
But, more often than not, God didn’t remove the load. Instead, He strengthened my shoulder. The workout was painful but, in the end, my spiritual muscle grew stronger.
Every time I call out for His help, God reminds me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
God is for us. He doesn’t allow us to go through hard times to make us miserable, but to make us stronger in Christ.
By the end of the summer, my grandson’s football practices weren’t exactly a breeze, but they were so much easier. He was turning into a solid football player.
In the same way, at the end of the day, my struggles have made me stronger. I can honestly say with the apostle Paul, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).