The Mercy of Struggle
The Mercy of Struggle
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” -Paul, 2 Corinthians 4:17
I am always amused when a fifth or sixth grade student says, “I wish I could do a second-grade math page. It looks easy.”
In a futile attempt to put it in perspective, I remind the student, “It did not seem easy when you were in second grade. Wait a couple of years, and the work you are doing now will seem easy to you. You need to do the hard work to get better.”
I am afraid that all too often we as parents forget the value of allowing our children to struggle. They were born through a process of struggle, cried through the first moments of life outside their mothers and embarked on a journey filled with challenges. We instinctively know that the process of birth is natural, and we are thankful for those first cries. It is, of course, our job as parents to protect our children, but we will never protect them from all that is dangerous, challenging, or difficult. We cannot prevent them from being lonely at times, hurt by friends, losing a competition, or experiencing the consequences of sin. They will be disappointed, sad, and face death and disease. It is part of living in a sin cursed world. Sometimes, though, we work so hard at trying to prevent children from struggling that we fail to help them through the struggles. It is the storms that cause enough rain for the flowers to grow, and it is through struggle that spiritual and emotional growth often flourishes. How then, do we help our children handle life’s hardships in a way that causes them to grow?
2. Teach your child Who has the answers. Struggling hearts can be most tender to the loving care of the Good Shepherd. These are moments of incredible opportunity. Point their hearts to a God who loves them and wants to care for them.
3. Help them see the benefits of the struggle. Tell stories of your own life or the lives of others who struggled. There are many great heroes of history and the Christian faith whose character was shaped by fire.
4. Be the love and support your child needs without enabling them to wilt under pressure.
- “When We See Christ,” by Esther Kerr Rusthoi, 1969