It’s Hard Not to Make It Easy
Recently, I read a devotional that challenged me and caused me to pause and reflect upon whether I, as a parent, am trying too hard to make my kids happy by making their lives too easy. It was an interesting thought, indeed. The devotional quickly threw another zinger my way suggesting that, while many parents strive to make life easy for their kids, the opposite effect is often occurring. When constructive feedback is shared from a teacher or another adult in a position of leadership, many parents rush in and stroke their child’s ego telling them how wonderful they are and what a great job they are doing, even if that is not the truth. As a result, many children grow up believing they are more special than everyone else and entitled to praise. When these children—who are products of these perfectly attuned parents—enter the harsh realities of the world, they are “having problems working in teams, breaking down when things don’t go their way, and having trouble when they don’t receive constant praise from their bosses.” They are left feeling empty and anxious.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, I sometimes find myself wondering why life can’t be easier and filled with less disappointment and heartache. After all, the Lord has the ability to protect me from disappointments and sorrow. That is not the kind of Heavenly Father He is. Because He loves me so, He knows that He must allow me to experience the harsh realities of the world—the betrayals, the heartaches, the disenchantments. Jesus lived as a man and knew that life is difficult; it was He who was described as “despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53:3). How it must have broken the Father’s heart to watch His Son become the scourge of the earth, yet He allowed it because He knew what would be accomplished through His Son’s rejection: the salvation of all mankind!
Jesus told us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So what this tells me is that, when I accept the fact that life is difficult, I can stop pursuing the elusive “happiness” that everyone desires and instead focus on the good and godly life God wants me to desire. It is in the difficulties of life that God will strengthen me and make me holy, not just happy. It is in holiness that contentment and true joy are discovered; as Romans 5:3-4 describes, “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Now the question is: am I willing to allow our children to struggle in life, knowing that it is through difficulties that the Lord will grow them into the women of God He desires them to be? When I look at it through God’s eyes, why would I try so hard to make it too easy?!
by Cindy Bates, Director of Connections Ministries