We all have struggles in life. The beauty of the Body is that we can empathize with and encourage one another–especially when someone else is going through something similar to what we may have walked through ourselves ( 2 Cor. 1:3-7 ). However, despite many common experiences in life, it is also wise to remember that we never see the whole picture in someone else’s life. There are many times we think we have an idea what someone else is going through … and we really don’t have a clue.
I’ve been on both sides of this issue. In the midst of some of the deepest struggles of my life, I’ve been fed much well-meaning but completely off-base “advice” by those who knew next to nothing about what I was really going through. And, sadly, at times I have probably also been the one doling out meaningless platitudes or quick fix prayers to those going through their own deep struggles.
The truth is no matter how sensitive or prophetically inclined we are, we always see in part. There is almost always more going on in any given situation than what we think we understand.
Anyway, as I was pondering along these lines, I remembered a post I wrote awhile back that dealt with this issue in an allegorical way. Rather than think of a new way to say it, I’m posting it again …
The Three Boxes
Once upon a time there were three boxes–small, medium, and large. Each box carried a struggle. It was the same core issue, but the size of the struggle–the height, the width, and especially, the depth–was proportionate to the size of the box.
Each box wanted freedom. Each wanted to be emptied of its struggle and filled with all that is good. Each diligently sought the solution.
The small box found the solution first. Through careful application of precept and principle, the box found freedom. It required a bit of effort–even after discovering the solution, the correct precepts and principles needed to be applied with ongoing diligence–but the victory came quickly.
The small box noticed the struggle of the medium box and wanted to help. Afterall, the small box already had the solution–if the medium box applied the same precepts and principles, surely victory would come quickly.
But it didn’t.
The medium box’s struggle was much larger than the small box’s struggle had been. So much so that the small box’s solution was swallowed up by the depth of the medium box’s struggle. The small box was a little miffed. Afterall, precepts and principles had worked for him. Undoubtedly the medium box wasn’t trying hard enough–surely if he tried just a little harder or was a bit more diligent and consistent he would see victory.
The medium box was confused. He truly wanted victory. He had done everything the small box said to do–it just didn’t help much. But the medium box would not give up. The medium box kept seeking a solution.
Finally, through strategic wisdom and persistent sacrifice, the medium box found victory. This was the answer! The medium box realized his struggle required more than precept and principle. The medium box’s freedom required insight gained over time. It came at a quite a cost, but it was well worth the effort.
It wasn’t long before the medium box noticed the large box was still struggling. The medium box was first in line to help. Afterall, since he had gone through such a significant struggle himself, he was confident he had the keys to the large box’s solution.
But he didn’t.
The large box tried all the tools both the small box and the medium box suggested. But weeks, months, and years passed, without any sign of lasting victory. Although it was the same issue, the solutions that worked for the other boxes just didn’t fit the size of the large box’s struggle. As time went on, the other boxes became certain the large box must have other issues hidden within his box. Something else must be in the way. If the large box was really applying these proven solutions, surely he would be free by now.
The large box became broken and discouraged. The reaction of the other boxes was as difficult to bear as the struggle itself. He knew they meant well, but their misunderstanding and misguided attempts to help just made things worse. He knew he was diligently applying every solution he’d been given–and then some–but nothing changed. He was close to giving up …
But he didn’t.
Instead, the large box found comfort and solace with the Box Maker. The Box Maker knew all there was to know about boxes and their struggles, so he understood the depth of the large box’s struggle in a way no one else did. But he also assured the large box there was hope. The Box Maker had already ensured victory for all his boxes. The large box didn’t need to work for the solution, he just needed to believe the Box Maker. He just needed to believe there was a solution that fit–even if he didn’t see it just yet.
Strangely, the Box Maker didn’t seem to mind the broken state of the large box one bit. It was clear the large box’s struggles did not change the Box Maker’s opinion of him. The Box Maker spoke to him as if he were already strong and free. And when the large box listened to the Box Maker, he felt strong and free–even though the struggle hadn’t yet been overcome. The Box Maker’s words gave him just enough hope and strength to believe victory was still possible … for him.
And it was.
It’s possible for you too.
If you are in the midst of a “large box” struggle–don’t give up. When you’ve applied every precept and principle, prayed every prayer, confessed every sin, professed every promise, done all the “right” things, sought counsel, tapped into wisdom and revelation, and literally given everything you have to find the solution–but haven’t–don’t lose heart.
He knows the depth of your struggle in a way no one else ever will. He understands in a way no one else can. He knows the pain you’ve faced and the tears you’ve cried. Some things are just plain hard. And some of those hard things are harder for some people than for others. There isn’t always a lot of rhyme or reason to it–sometimes it just is the way it is. That’s when it’s good to just be. To just be his. To just be his and remember …
~He sees you
~He loves you
~He accepts you
~He believes in you
Even in the midst of your very large struggle. Well meaning people may misunderstand, misdiagnose, and misjudge, but he never will. That’s because no matter how big your struggle is …
His love is bigger. And big love overcomes big struggles.