“And now THIS...? Enough already, God. That's the last straw!”
There are times when enough is not only enough but too much! We can't bear one more thing. And then that “one more thing” still happens or happens again.
Has it been one thing after another to weigh us down? Trials on top of trials? Setbacks and obstacles and a multitude of problems? Are troubles compounded? Do they come in clusters? It seems as if “Murphy's Law” is our motto: “Anything that can go wrong does go wrong.” We are literally at our wits' end. And now one more thing? That's the last straw!
One straw is not heavy in itself. Certainly one can hardly feel the weight of one straw. But bales of hay and straw are becoming heavier and harder to handle. And then comes one more trial, one more test, one more affliction, one more hardship, one more problem, one more adversity—and it feels like it's finally the last straw to break our patience and crush us. We’ve convinced ourselves that we have every reason to give up, to despair. That's the end!
Is it God who is trying to weigh us down, to pile adversity upon adversity to see how much we can take without caving in? Is He so cruel and sadistic to burden us with more than we can bear? Not according to 1 Corinthians 10:13 (GNT. “Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.” What is there about that promise that we don't understand?
God is working on us and through our circumstances for our good although it may not seem that way to us. That includes illness, relationships, finances, mental anguish, economic collapse—anything and everything. There is a purpose in all things. Nothing is happenstance. Through these afflictions we are being changed and transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. They may feel abrasive and hurtful but we are being lovingly polished in God's finishing school. What we look upon as reversals or obstacles or closed doors may simply be His redirection to a better way.
What we are going through is exactly that—something we are going through. We will come out on the other side. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and that Light is Jesus and He is working out His perfect will for our lives. Life is a journey, an on-going trek through the wilderness. It is a process and we are pilgrims. We are sojourners; this world is not our Home; we are just traveling through. We are not experiencing a dead-end worst case scenario no matter how it feels or looks. There is no such thing as “a last straw.”
In Psalm 107, subtitled “The Lord delivers man from manifold troubles,” King David the musician and songwriter goes all out to list (if I count correctly) twenty-eight negative things that came against God's people one after the other and how God saw them through, It chronicles how He “guided them to their safe haven” after all the hardships that befell them. Take a listen to their dark list of adversity experiences—talk about hardships and misfortunes!
“Adversities, hunger, thirst, fainting, trouble, distresses, darkness, shadow of death, misery, chains, labors, stumbling, helpless, bands, gates of bronze, bars of iron, affliction, loss of appetite, gates of death, destruction, at wits' end, in the wilderness, in salt waste, in dry land, diminished, bowed down, oppressed, in sorrow.”
Any one of these could have been the straw that would break the camel's back and cause them permanent despair. How does the Psalm begin? “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.” What does the author exclaim half way through the above litany of bad stuff? “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness...let them extol Him...and praise Him.” How does the psalm-song end? “Consider the lovingkindness of the Lord!”
Maybe such things are happening to you? Do you have your own long litany of adversities? Are you experiencing “a last straw episode?” Can you look at your “last straw” and say, “Thanks, Lord, I needed that”? Well, maybe you can't even whisper that--right now. But you will--later.
Take a bulldog grip on that First Corinthians promise and tell that depressed camel to get up off the desert sand. Quit complaining--Its back is not broken--and neither is yours!
Climb up on its hump and go forward in the strength of the Lord and in the power of His might!
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