Friday, May 2, 2008

Sometimes You Must Reach the End of Your Rope

Yesterday, I finished a four-day "work marathon" in which every available moment--some fifty hours' worth--was devoted to preparing a lengthy anthology-textbook on contract to a nonfiction publisher. One would think that by now I would have learned not to underestimate the amount of time it takes to finish projects--and that it takes an hour to get to sleep when my brain lacks sufficient time to "power down" between work and bed.

Plenty of people have more serious--and longer-lasting--reasons for lying awake at night, most of which are connected to a sense of having taken on more than one can handle--or of having had similar weights dropped on one's shoulders uninvited. If Christ's yoke is easy and His burden is light (cf. Mt. 11:28-30), why do we as Christians still feel consistently "weary and burdened"?

Usually because, instead of carrying the load He gives us and passing to Him everything else that others and life try to hand us, we're trying to carry His load plus all the others by ourselves. God is too concerned with our maturity to snatch things from us if we forget to ask Him to take them. He wants us to be adults who know--and do--what is right, rather than infants who constantly have to have things done for their own good, with or without their cooperation.

So if you feel you're at the end of your rope, God may be telling you: Quit struggling to climb that rope by yourself; just hang on and let Him pull you up.

If you've filled up your life with mounds of tasks
And can see no end to the list,
If you've lost all your joy in serving God,
And it seems no way out can exist
From the hole you've dug--and to bury yourself--
Then consider before you just quit:
Sometimes you must reach the end of your rope
Before God can pull you from the pit.

If you've filled up your brain with "shoulds" and "musts"
And with worry, self-pity, and doubt,
If you've let yourself sink into a funk
And can scarcely conceive a way out,
Then remind yourself Who is the Source of peace--
Take your thoughts off yourself for a bit;
Sometimes you must reach the end of your rope
Before God can pull you from the pit.

For as long as we think we can cope alone,
We will struggle to climb to the top;
And so long as our lives seem organized,
We will fight for our "rights" till we drop.
But with nothing to do but to cry for help,
We at last see the whole truth of it:
Sometimes you must reach the end of your rope
Before God can pull you from the pit!

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