By Sandra Sheridan
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”
Today was a beautiful day. After quite a few weeks of rain, the warm sun caressed the Earth and teased me through the office window. Finally, I could stand it no longer and took an hour to go home for lunch.
Gulping down my salad I ventured out into the front flowerbed to pull some weeds and soak in the rays. Imagine my surprise when I knelt down to attack the unwanted vegetation to find myself peering into the wide eyes of a toad. Hidden away within the soil, this little guy had dug a hole and burrowed into the ground. His skin color matched the dirt, and he could hardly be seen but for the brown unblinking eyes staring up at me.
Toads bury themselves in the ground to protect themselves from predators and to keep out of the high temperatures. Sometimes I am tempted to follow the toad’s ways. When life gets hot and I feel trouble breathing down my neck, digging a hole in the ground and disappearing sounds like a good idea. From this remote hiding place I wouldn’t have to face the pressures and hardships of life. I could just blend in with the landscape and escape my circumstances.
I think the Apostle Paul may have felt like this at times, too. In a letter to the Corinthian church, he revealed some of what he was feeling. The pressure he was under was so great that at times he even despaired of his life. He knew he could not endure the trials on his own. But though Paul’s heart was swollen with concern for the well-being of his fellow believers, and the enemy was so vicious that the sentence of death seemed imminent, this man of God had learned a secret. Do not rely on yourself, but rely on God, who is powerful enough even to raise the dead.
Digging a hole and disappearing into it may sound tempting, but it is not the courageous or the right thing to do. God has not given His children a spirit of fear but a spirit of love, of power and sound mind. Whatever we need to face can be faced with God by our side. He will provide the power needed to endure.
Paul had experienced God’s deliverance in many difficult situations in the past, and he was fully persuaded that his God would be faithful to deliver in the future.
I glanced at Mr. Toad again and changed my mind. He looked safe tucked away in his hole, but he was missing out on a beautiful day. I don’t think I want to follow his example.
When the pressures of life are too much to bear, keep Paul’s encouragement in mind. Don’t bury yourself in a hole. Keep your focus on the Lord, look the hardships straight in the face and set your hope on God’s deliverance.
Don’t be like a toad in the garden. God will not fail you. — Love Mama
Sandra Sheridan is a Midwest wife and mother of five. She shares her letters to her children with our readers. Visit her at www.VersesFromMama.com.