This week I’ve been thinking about how hard it is to do hard things. When my children were younger and I was home schooling them, I had one child who really struggled with spelling. Over the years I tried dozens of different curriculum in an attempt to find something that would make spelling easier for him. Unfortunately, we were never very successful and today as an adult, he often finds his inability to spell is a handicap. Looking back, I think it might have been better if we would have chosen one spelling curriculum and stuck with it using good old-fashioned rote memorization instead of continually looking for something that would make the subject easier for both of us. The fact is – spelling is just hard for him.
I think it is particularly hard for Americans in my generation and those younger than I to do things that are hard because we’ve never really had to do much that was difficult. We were born to a place and time in which there is continually some new technology or device to make life easier, but sometimes I wonder what we have sacrificed for ease.
As I look at the things in my own life that I avoid, procrastinate, or never accomplish simply because the task seems hard and the things with which I struggle, it seems to me that the generation that follows me does not find those things any easier – in fact, it seems that perhaps they struggle even more. Then when I look back at the generations before me it seems there were many things with which I struggle today (such as rising early or eating healthy) that they just did because they either had no choice or it was expected of them. We expect life to be easy, but many before us knew life was hard and expected no less.
However, although my generation may find difficulty in doing those things that an earlier generation may have found routine, I know that it has always been hard for man in every generation to choose to do what is right and good. Perhaps the generation before us did not struggle as much as we do today when it comes to physical labor or self-discipline in some areas, but doing the right thing has always been hard. The older I get the more I understand and can relate to Paul’s words in Romans 7 when he describes his struggle with the sin nature under which he was born.
18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Whenever I think of this verse I am reminded that I can do nothing in my own power (my own willpower is powerless without Christ), but I am also reminded of Paul’s words to the Philippians in chapter four of that letter, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Although Paul is referring to finding contentment in all situations in this verse, I think that it also applies to doing those things that are hard and trusting that we can call on God to give us the strength we need to do those things that we cannot do on our own. I am so thankful that with Christ we can do hard things.