Friday, August 14, 2009

Trading for what's behind door #2

One of my sisters has a cross stitch sampler in her house that depicts an assortment of clothes pinned to a clothesline. It reads, "If all of our troubles were hung on the line, you would take yours and I would take mine." (For those of you who don't know what a clothesline is, it's the ancestor of the clothes dryer, a line hung outdoors between 2 points onto which one pins clothes to dry after being washed. Of course, if you don't know what a clothesline is you probably don't know what a cross stitch sampler is, either.)
I always thought this "you would take yours and I would take mine" philosophy was an astute observation. You and I will never know all that another person is struggling with, all the baggage they're carrying. Sure, we may know some of it but there's probably no instance in which we know all of it. If we did, if it were all "hung on the line", we'd probably just as soon deal with our own load of trouble.

Why do you think that is? I think that God creates and equips each of us to deal with our own unique circumstances . . . not alone, mind you, but in concert with Him. If we could handle everything that comes our way, we might think that there would be no need for God. In his classic book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Harold Kushner effectively dispels the well-intended misconception that God does not allow us to experience more than we can bear. If that were the case, why would people commit suicide in the face of despair or abandon a handicapped child? Kushner and I part ways on some points beyond that but we agree that God created us for relationship with Him and with others. We were never meant to go it alone. I think that's part of what the Apostle Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10 NLT when he spoke of God's strength becoming evident through our weakness.

So if it's all the same to you (or even if it's not), I think I'll just take my own load of troubles off of the line and let you deal with yours. God already has a plan for how He and I are going to handle mine. The good news is that He has a plan for you and your troubles, too.

How much more could we accomplish if we were not always yearning for what's behind door #2?

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