Learning to read is HARD. Teaching someone to learn to read is hard, especially if your student needs everything to be phonetically correct. Rules that are only rules sometimes boggle little minds. Sitting at the table watching my little guy struggle and give in to defeat is hard. I wish is wasn't so hard for him, but it is just that.. HARD. It's been a real challenge for this particular child. I'm not sure why. I'm sure I could have him diagnosed with something, but that would just solidify in his mind that he can't do it. He would be even more aware that he is a little bit... different.
The words on the page look totally unfamiliar. There's no memory recall of having read them before, so he must go through all the rules he knows until he has the right one and then begin to sound out the word again. He's read them all before, but for him it's just a little harder.
His little eyes fill with tears and his head hangs real low. "I can't do it, it's just too hard." Around this mountain we go again. Him defeated and mom trying to encourage him. I know something he doesn't remember right now... He's read them all before. He can do this.
Most days he will keep pressing forward. I love that about him. He never gives up, but today he is tired. We stayed up on a school night, watching a movie together and he woke up extra early. He's weary and he's whiny. He really believes he can't do this.
I know how he feels. I tell him so. I know that he feels like it's too hard and he wants to give up. I feel that way some days too. I tell him that school makes me cry a lot. But then I tell him I know he can do it. I tell him how proud I am that he keeps trying even when he wants to give up. I tell him I know it's hard, but he's improving every day.
Soon his eyes dry up and his smile returns and he sounds out that word that he got stuck on and he laughs because he really has read that one before. He presses on and after that book is finished he feels so good about what he accomplished. He feels happy that he didn't give up and really happy about that little reward he earned for persevering. Most of all, he's learning that you don't have to listen to your doubts and fears.
I see Paul sitting in prison, writing a letter of encouragement to the church of Philippi... Paul who has served the Lord with all of his strength. Paul who has given his whole life to the cause of Christ, sitting in prison awaiting an uncertain fate, writing to the church and telling them to keep on going. Paul who has experienced MANY hard and unfair trials and temptations... stoning, snake bite, ship wreck, just to name a few, and yet telling them that He fixes his eyes on Jesus. Telling them that he has learned that "I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength." Telling them to "REJOICE IN THE LORD." To meditate on things that are true, lovely and praiseworthy.
How could Paul say all of that? I would be saying:
"Lord, what are you doing?"
"Why are you making me go through this?"
"This is toooooo hard."
"I can't do this."
Yet, Paul claims he can do all things with God's strength. I'm sure that didn't come naturally... Look at verses 11 "... for I have LEARNED, in whatever state I'm in to be content." After many times of seeing God work through hard situations he had learned to trust God. Paul had seen the hand of God in so many impossible situations and He knew that God was working everything out for His glory. Everything, good and bad. EVERYTHING. He had figured out that with Jesus, he could do it. He could face Rome and death. He could face hardship. He could face loss. Nothing was too hard for him to go through with Jesus by his side.
I don't know what you are going through today. Some of my friends are going through fierce storms and they see no end in sight, worse still, the storm is obscuring their view of God... but you can do this. He is still there. He is bigger than all the pain, hurt, confusion, and agony of your current situation. He will bring you through this and when he does you will be a little stronger than before. You will marvel at what you were able to overcome with Jesus.
Don't give up... You can do this.