Read: Proverbs 24:10
If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place. (The Message)
When I was a little kid, I’d usually run to my mom rather than my dad when I got hurt, frustrated or felt picked on by my older siblings. Why? Because my mom would usually give me a hug, dry my tears and baby me in all sorts of ways. My dad, on the other hand, would typically say, “buck up, bud” or “rub some dirt on it and walk it off” or “dry it up little man, or I’ll give you something really to cry about!”
It’s not that my dad was uncaring; he just didn’t want me to be soft. He wanted to toughen me up for the day when I’d really have something to cry about. Looking back, I’m grateful for the balance that a tender mom and a tough dad brought into my life—but I’m especially thankful for the grit my pop ground into me. I think it has served me well on the sometimes tough, unfriendly and demanding path I’ve trod in my adult life.
But to be honest, there are times even now that I fall back into my whiny kid mode. It happened just this past week when I was complaining to the Lord about some disappointments that I thought were totally unfair of him to allow into my life. I suggested to him that if he didn’t start doing his job better then maybe it was time for me to scoop up my marbles and head home. And with typical timing, the Lord sent a reminder my way that in essence repeated the same fatherly admonition I’d heard so many times growing up: “Buck up, bud, this ain’t nutin!” This time it came in the form of an email from the Ethiopian coordinator of our church-planting ministry. My African friend shared with me the testimony of one of our church planters who just had a contract taken out on his life. Yea, that’s right, a guy with a gun was trying to kill him simply because he had come to a village to preach the Gospel—and our guy was rejoicing how the Lord was using him!
Wow—I guess my troubles are pretty puny compared to that!
Hebrews 4:12 says, “In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves.” (The Message) What is the writer saying? That if you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!
So I’m going to shelve the complaints until I shed the first drop of blood for the cause of Christ. And if you hear me whining between now and then, you have my permission to say, “Buck up, bud, or I’ll give you something to really cry about.”
And what about you? Maybe it’s time for you to toughen up a bit, too!
“God is your Father, do you think he would ever hurt you? He just cuts you off from those things you love in the wrong way. You cry like a baby when God removes something or someone from your life, but you would cry a lot more if you saw the eternal damages your wrong attachments cause you.” ~Francois Fenelon
Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:
Memorize James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Now, the next time you are tempted to whine, quote this verse instead.