Gary Thomas in his book Sacred Parenting makes the astute observation that when trials come our way, they come in bundles, meaning they come one after another tenaciously. I certainly have experienced this in my life when it comes to parenting. I often question why this is so. Why another trial? I just went through one painful one. My soul can’t handle another one, yet this is what God has prescribed.
I have a dear friend who is going through immense trials right now. Seems like every time I hear from her, something drastic has happened. Her life right now is like a huge tidal wave that comes relentlessly one after another. What do I say to her? How would I encourage her?
Thomas has some words of encouragement. He explains that the way to become mature and complete in God is through perseverance, which enables us to bear fruit.
There’s only one way to develop perseverance: We have to surrender to God as we feel pushed past the human breaking point. We have to reach the threshold of exhaustion, and then get pushed even further. One trial can help us deal with fear. Two trials can lead to wisdom. But perseverance? That takes a bundle of difficulties. All of which means that parenting extremely demanding children feeds a spiritual need in our soul – to participate in the crucial discipline of perseverance on which our fruitfulness as believers depends.
What’s neat is that perseverance is not the end goal.