looking for a job
a (really boring but worthwhile) book
reconciliation with someone who’s hurt us or whom we’ve hurt
a work project – like setting up a business
a personal project – getting fit or building a shed
a family relationship
It’s hard to hope when that hope is repeatedly dashed. It’s hard to try when you’re scared of failure. It’s hard to reach out for fear of rejection. It’s hard to keep trusting and trying, when it feels like you’ve got nothing left.
The possibility of failure makes it difficult to keep risking. But it’s the possibility of failure that also makes some risks worthwhile.
Think of the adventure stories or the films that you admire most. What’s the strapline? “Explorer thinks about climbing mountain but decides he’d rather have a cup of tea.” “Young lawyer considers taking on corporation but can’t be bothered with the paperwork?” “Two kingdoms clash in a battle of good versus evil, but it’s nippy out so they go home early ?”
Who fights for what is easy; or what is guaranteed? And what makes a novel or a film great? A neat and convenient happy ending? A good tune? Or a story about actual people, trying and failing – and striving and hoping and stretching beyond their own limits to something beautiful and risky and real?
Sometimes it’s good to let go. This might be something minor, like an overlong book. It might be something major – like medical treatment that’s just not working, or a relationship with someone who repeatedly causes you harm. However, there are times – especially as Christians – when we’re called to persevere, and to believe in more than is possible. We can’t achieve the miraculous. But our God is not confined to a box; and by His strength, we are more than the sum of our parts. Perhaps we need energy to keep slogging at a certain project. Perhaps we need grace, to help us forgive. Perhaps we need spiritual refreshment after taking on too much. He gives us these things – but more, much more, He gives us Himself.
When I was younger, I was teased by the older boys in school. At night, I’d come home and cry to my dad. He’d calm me down and reassure me. But the next day, I still had to go into the classroom alone. And I remember wishing with all my heart that he could come in there too.
On my own, I felt small and overwhelmed. But with dad by my side, the scary things shrunk.
God is the Father who comes into the classroom. The office. The nursery. The courtroom. He is in us and with us – and in His strength, we can keep going and keep trying, knowing that underneath, are His everlasting arms.