For when the rock is too heavy and the hill too steep …
Your Rock: Mission Impossible
You look at the huge lump of stone you've been given, and your knees begin to shake. You'll never get that thing up the hill!
The mythological character Sysiphus was condemned to roll a heavy rock up a steep hill. Every time he got to the top of the hill, his strength would give out and the rock would roll right back down to the bottom.
Doesn’t life feel like this sometimes? That rock is often not taken away from us, because we live in a world that is full of sin and evil. Mostly we simply don't know why the burden was placed upon us. But Christians know that God can lend you His strength when yours is gone. In this book I have collected 100 devotions that — and this is my prayer — could make that heavy burden a little bit lighter.
Turn to God for strength and inspiration by meditating on His Word and praying.
When you're ready, He will take your rock away.
Hard rocks and soft rocks often go together
16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. — Genesis 3:16–20 (NIV)
Pain has plagued us throughout the history of our species. We spend our lives trying to avoid it, and, from one point of view, what we call “happiness” may be just the absence of pain. Yet it is difficult to define pain, which may be sharp, dull, shooting, throbbing, imaginary, or referred.
We have many pains that surge from within as cramps and aches. And we also talk about emotional distress as pain. Pains are often combined, the emotional with the physical, and the physical with the physical.
— Ackerman, Diane, and Nicolette Schwartz, A Natural History of the Senses. Loc. 164.0 / 699.It seems that merely to be alive is to be in pain! And that may very well be true. What is always sad to me is that people who are not experiencing pain are not aware of the fact that they are not experiencing pain. Nobody walks down the street and exclaims: “Aha! My left hip doesn’t hurt at all!” Unless she has just had hip surgery, of course, and after a long course of physical therapy she can only now walk without pain. But the fact that one is not aware of non-pain is blessing in itself. Without pain, its distraction is not there to dog your every step and to befuddle each thought. You are free and clear to do what you want and to go where you will. Have you ever thought of this: what we call “shallowness” is, in fact, an absence of pain. Two teenagers with nothing better to do than discuss at length a pair of jeans are not so much inexperienced and unsophisticated as just pain free. They chirp away without an inkling of the darker days that come later. And we old sophisticats might scorn them for being fairly mindless, but later on they will think back with delight at the days of their youth when they had nothing better to do than chatter about a pair of jeans. And be pain-free. Having said that: I cannot think of a single noble deed or work of art that has ever come from this non-pain state. Can you? Looking from that angle, it might just be true that to be alive is to be in pain. I don’t know about you, but that consoles me.
Thank you for the days of my life when I was pain-free. Thank you for long summers’ afternoons when I had nothing better to do than to chat with friends about nothing much.
Now that those days are over, I pray that you will stay with me and strengthen me in my days of pain. And now I thank you for the deepening in me brought about by these less than pain-free days.