“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.”
2 Corinthians 4:8
Look at her.
She’s definitely between a rock and a hard place – er, another rock.
This cute little brittle bladder-fern is doing what she does best – growing where no man – or self respecting life form – has gone before. Her roots are burrowing into bare rock, an undertaking few can manage.
But that small crack in the rock face, something a rose or lily would pale to look upon and scorn as inhabitable, a brittle bladder-fern views as an opportunity.
And away she goes. Her determined efforts will result in producing something new. She will slowly but surely break down the solid bedrock into smaller bits by inserting her roots and using the freeze-thaw cycle to her advantage. Then she will lay down her life – and become organic matter, the fodder for another generation of ambitious life forms. A few generations hence, and there will be multiple families dwelling there, a whole thriving community springing forth from a former concrete jungle.
And I’ve seen it acted out before my eyes.
Tragedy strikes – the actors in the drama are caught between a rock and another rock, and somehow, they rise from the ashes and build something new from the pain and heartbreak – something real and organic and life-sustaining.
I see you there, deep in that sharp and impenetrable crevice.
I see you, between a rock and – another rock.
You’re in good company.
Joseph, sold into slavery by his own brothers. Daniel, captured by a conquering nation and forced to serve in a foreign court – then tossed to the lions in his old age. His buddies, tossed into a furnace for not bowing down to a statue. The Apostle Paul – beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked, falsely accused, hounded by Rome.
Those are some of his words – pressed, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not driven to despair.
I’ve wondered, you know.
I’ve seen so many hard pressed who have crumbled into dust.
And others, who take the opportunity to grow into the bare rock and produce something entirely beautiful and audacious.
I think the difference is hope.
The knowledge that there is something bigger than our stories that our story plugs into. The notion that there is life after death, One to walk in the furnace with us, One to close the mouth of lions and share His presence in the dungeons of life.
Friend, don’t despair.
There is more to your story.
There is more to your story, because of Jesus and His story. His is the kingdom cut out of rock that will smash every other kingdom that ever went before us. (You really should read Daniel. Good stuff!)
Be like a brittle bladder-fern with me?
Father, we so often feel crushed between a hard choice and a harder choice! Remind us that You can create life out of solid rock. Remind us that Your presence, Your hope is the best place to send out our roots and that we can grow beautiful in the middle of the hard places in life. Amen.