As I watched one of my sweet girls fuss and struggle during tummy time this morning, I realized we go through similar struggles all our lives. Tummy time is important for this baby. It will strengthen her neck muscles and prepare her for the next stages of rolling and crawling. I stayed beside her and allowed her to fuss for a few minutes while she struggled to lift her head and roll over. I know she can do these things because she has done them many times and as recently as yesterday. For some reason this morning, she just couldn’t seem to get her head up off the bed. She was probably tired and maybe frustrated that I wouldn’t help her roll over or just pick her up, but I know how important tummy time is for her development. Eventually, she was able to lift her head up and look around, and she stopped fussing and smiled.
Aren’t we like her at times in our lives? God is always with us, but he allows us to go through struggles and even listens when we complain about our struggles. Jesus assured us in John 16:33 that we will have trouble, but we can be sure of our future because he has overcome the world. It’s not a matter of if we will have struggles in this life; it’s just a matter of when, and God has promised that he will be with us through the struggles.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” (Isaiah 43:2-3a, 5a)
When we are down and struggling to lift our head up, we may wonder if God is really there and why he isn’t doing anything to ease our struggle. He is the all-powerful Creator of the universe after all and could lift us up, ease all our frustrations, and immediately restore us, but He allows us to go through the struggle because he knows it will strengthen us and prepare us for future struggles. If he never allowed us to go through struggles, we wouldn’t mature in our faith. I don’t enjoy the struggles, but hopefully one day I will be able to “consider it pure joy” as James advises us (James 1:2).