By Janet Treadway
Do you ever get discouraged with the trials of life? Do you ever feel sometimes that just when you get up from one trial, along comes another to kick you down again? Well be glad you were not born a baby giraffe. The amazing story of the birth of a giraffe brought some lessons home to me.
When it doesn't get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again. The struggle to rise is monumental. As the baby calf grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate its efforts. Finally, the calf stands for the first time on its wobbly legs.
Then the mother giraffe does a remarkable thing. She kicks it off its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the wild, baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to stay with the herd, where there is safety. Lions, hyenas and leopards all enjoy eating young giraffes, and they'd get to, if the mother didn't teach her calf to get up quickly and get with it.
So how well do we get back up when life knocks us down, as it does from time to time? We can feel like the baby giraffe, when the trials of life send us for a loop. I think of the many times that I have been knocked down and believed with my whole heart that I could never get up again. "Life is too hard," "I'm tired," I would think, and revert to self-pity, asking, "Why me, God?"
Struggles are good for us
Often what pulls me back up is reading
the accounts of great men that God used. Such men as Joseph did not start
out as great men. Indeed Joseph was knocked down time and time again by
the trials of life.
Joseph grew from the trials, to become a great leader and save a nation from famine. His words to his brothers, after he had become second in command in Egypt, were not words of bitterness, revenge and hate. Instead they were words of appreciation for the trials that he had gone through because he knew that God had used them for his good and for the good of a nation. "But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here," Joseph told his brothers, "for God sent me before you to preserve life" (Genesis 45:6).
Joseph's attitude had completely changed from when he was a young lad. He grew from bragging to his brothers that they would bow down to him, to the point where, years later, he had to leave the room while he wept for his brothers.
Joseph was human, though, just like you and me. In his darkest hours he must have asked God why many times. While in prison Joseph must have wondered what happened to his boyhood dreams. I am sure Joseph must have asked God why He was not helping him and saving him from his terrible trials. As he sat within the dark walls of prison, Joseph must have felt that God was punishing him or that He had abandoned him.
Can you relate to any of these thoughts? Many times we do not feel that the struggles of this life are for our good--especially while going through the trial.
But the fact was God was with Joseph all the time and never left his side. God was the one that showed him favor with the jailer and the men around him! God was the one that gave him wisdom to interpret dreams that led him first to his freedom, then to be a ruler and save a nation.
God in His great wisdom knows that trials will bring forth gold in us. He knows when to act and what to do for our growth.
God wants us to be able to fly
God also knows when not to act. Sometimes
He does not respond immediately or help us in the way we'd like because
He knows our struggle is necessary for our strength and growth.
Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we
need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any
obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could
have been. And we could never fly...