Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
My son was helping me in the garden one morning, transplanting a very large, not-yet bloomed hydrangea. As he dug, the shovel would often clink against a rock. “I love New England,” he said, sarcastically, after one such clink. It’s true, our yard is full of rocks—large ones, medium ones, and small ones. As I dug up another smaller one, leaving the larger ones to my brawny son, the rocks in my garden took on a different meaning. My poor boy, I started to gush out everything God showed me about the rocks. Hoping it wasn’t just for him, my son replied, “You should put that in your blog.” I guess he didn’t think it was something he needed! Or maybe he did and thought others should hear it too. So, here it is.
Our lives are filled with “rocks.” The rocks symbolize the trials we encounter along the path. Just as the rocks in my garden varied in size and shape, so do our trials. Sometimes it seems I’m hit with something out of the blue and at the time it seems insurmountable, like my husband needing a kidney transplant. Those are the times we may need a little extra help. I wasn’t strong enough to pull some of the rocks out from underground, but thankfully my son was there to help me.
Sometimes the rocks can be flatter but cover a large area. Can you remember a time when you went through something that wasn’t terrible, but enough of a burden on you? How long did it last? In my experience, they can seem to last forever. It wasn’t life or death, manageable, but definitely not enjoyable.
On that day we worked in the garden, most of the rocks sat just slightly below the surface. A few times, however, we hit the deep ones. It took my son a lot of digging and hard work to scoop those out with the shovel. Most of the time they were large, too. We may encounter small bumps in the road of life but other times we might feel like something slams us so deep into our core that we wonder how in the world we’ll be able to heal.
Does It Matter What We Think? There’s no doubt about it, life is going to have its troubles. Just like my yard is going to have its rocks. My question for you is, how are you going to handle those rocks? Maybe you’re going to ask someone stronger and more capable to help you when you stumble upon a large boulder. Or maybe you’ll keep some where you found them, digging around them, pretending they aren’t there as you hide them under heaps of dirt. Jesus tells us we will face trials. But he then goes on to encourage us to take heart, because He has overcome the world. As long as we find our rest in Him, we can be assured that when we stumble upon the rocks of life, we can deal with them by removing them and continuing on, stronger, and more mature than before.