As this year draws toward its finish, I’d like to ask you a question. How has it treated you? It was a tough year worldwide with all the natural disasters, crime, and violence. And perhaps you, like many, faced personal difficulty like unemployment, the loss of a loved one, or severe health issues.
Or maybe like me, your year was marked more by personal failure. You took a few steps in your spiritual progress, only to discover that your old man wasn’t as dead as you thought he was.
And you failed – yet again. Said things you shouldn’t have. Reacted in a wrong way. Or allowed negative, selfish thoughts to rule your heart. And sometimes it’s those personal failures that can get us down the most.
We have two choices during times of difficulty.
- We can either give up thinking, “it’s just too hard.”
- Or we can see that difficulties (even those we create) work for our good.
God allows trials as a way of teaching us to overcome all obstacles and keep running the race, as in the following story…
The story of the strange conduct of a land crab.
One of the most useful pioneer evangelists of the Samoan mission was a man named Teava, who, after many years of active service returned to his island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. Though very feeble and bent with age, his place at church was never vacant; and he was ever ready with a word of exhortation. And on one occasion he said…
When I laboured on the island of Tutuila I often felt rebuked by the strange conduct of a large species of land-crab. It bores deep into the soil, the holes sometimes extending a considerable distance.
At night this crab loves to make its way to the sea, for the purpose of laving itself in the salt water and drinking it. Now it sometimes happens that, when hurrying through the tall grass and fern, some of its legs become defiled by contact with filth.
So great is the vexation of this crab at its mishap, that it delays its march to the sea in order to wrench off the offending legs! One may sometimes meet a mutilated individual hobbling along without two or three of its legs—a self-inflicted punishment!
In some rare instances it has been known to wrench off all its eight legs to escape defilement. It is then content to drag itself over the ground with considerable difficulty by means of its nippers, until it reaches its hole, where it hides until the legs partially develop themselves again, though not of their original length and beauty. *
The Story of the Land Crab is based on a story from The Biblical Illustrator – in the Public Domain.
We need the same tenacity for overcoming obstacles!
Not to the point that we cut our legs off, or even tear our hair out. No, I’m not suggesting that! But we need to focus on the finish line – and get rid of all that impedes us.
Therefore let’s also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…Hebrews 12:1 WEB
Trials are tough and discouraging, and often do cause wounds or missing pieces. But it’s important to remember that giving in to discourgement doesn’t change anything. The trials don’t disappear, but remain, thorns in our side, mountains to scale.
But if we allow them to teach us the tenacity of the land crab, they become special hidden blessings in our lives.
Let’s let them teach us to lay aside every weight and sin which so easily ensnares or entangles us.