I try really hard not to say those words but I caved this morning. Why? For starters, I’m taking the most neuro medication I’ve been on to date. I have an extra “rescue drug” in case that doesn’t work. Next, going outside requires ear plugs, neurologist-selected sunglasses, and often a transport chair (hopefully this explains why I don’t attempt that often! 😉 ) Finally, I keep the lights in my apartment turned off or dimmed much of the time. Real TV almost never happens, but when it does it’s low-def and I’m wearing those fancy sunglasses. Last night we finally got up the courage to watch Beauty and the Beast (pretty harmless, right?). Lights in the movie triggered seven back-to-back seizures, which only stopped after Ivan gave me the rescue drug. Hopefully this gives some context to my grumpy attitude this morning.
That’s an extreme example, but I know I’m not the only one of us who wakes up on the wrong side of the bed (or goes to bed on the wrong side, for that matter). I’m also not the only one who feels that predicament is justifiable. “End of rope reached” is a box I would check in a heartbeat if life offered me one. There’s only so much a person should be expected to take, right? I wish we could all check that box – or at least stretch our ropes a little farther so we wouldn’t need to. The box doesn’t exist, but the end of every rope does. What happens if I’m right and I have finally hit the end of mine?
To move this story away to someone NOT me, let’s talk about a man named Joseph. His own brothers sold him into slavery when he was a teenager (this isn’t a current story, FYI). Most people’s ropes would have ended right there. Not Joseph’s, though. Instead of giving up, he worked hard and became the overseer of his master’s estate. Finally, happy ending! Except it wasn’t. His master’s wife tried to seduce him but Joseph refused. Instead of being rewarded for his faithful choice, he got thrown in jail because the woman told her husband Joseph had tried to rape her. Another plausible “end of rope” moment. But Joseph pushed through. His faithfulness and wisdom were noticed even in prison, and he rose to be overseer yet again. (True, freedom would have been better, but “manager” is a step up from being locked in a cell). His innocence, faithfulness, and wisdom eventually reached the ears of the king. Not only was he finally freed – he became manager of the entire kingdom! This would also be a great end to Joseph’s story, except that it still wasn’t. He had one more piece of “rope” ahead of him. A few years into his kingdom-managing gig, guess who arrived at his doorstep? His brothers. There was a famine in the area, and although Joseph had saved up enough food for his new homeland, the surrounding kingdoms hadn’t prepared so well. Now could have been Joseph’s ultimate moment of triumph. Those men had hurt him so much – directly and indirectly. They definitely did NOT deserve the bread they were begging him for. Saying no would have been so easy. But instead of calling it the end of his rope and enjoying their rightful demise, Joseph actually gave them what they were pleading for. He also told them he forgave them – even though they hadn’t apologized. Offering unsolicited forgiveness is the ultimate “end of rope” moment for anyone to survive.
How in the world did Joseph find such inner peace and strength? He looked beyond himself to see a larger picture. In Joseph’s own words, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” If his brothers hadn’t hurt him so long ago, he wouldn’t have had the privilege to protect so many. The hard part was that in the thick of his troubles Joseph couldn’t see how far his rope would keep stretching before any good came of it – and neither can we. We can, however, choose to remember that God never ever wastes pain. We can’t fast forward to the good part, but we can believe He does have a good part. And that He will never leave us with a longer rope than we can handle.
So I guess I can’t arbitrarily decide when I hit the end of my rope. Like the story above, not all of my rope is even that bad. (I say that as I sit here finishing up this post with a fluffy kitten and my sweet husband.) God already stretched my rope beyond what I thought possible, and I suspect He’ll continue stretching it for many years to come. In the meantime, I know His plan is good and His end is kind.
Also, brownie points if you guessed I was paraphrasing the story of Joseph from the book of Genesis!
Also also, even more brownie points if you caught that “Bare Necessities” is a song from The Jungle Book. 🙂
7 thoughts on “Can’t It Be Enough Already?!?”
As Luke (14) and I sat and read this just now, we were so encouraged by your perspective. God truly does have a purpose in our suffering, and he never wastes any of it. You are reaching so many with your words of truth and hope, and I know He will continue to speak through you to reach many more. Thank you for your faithfulness in the midst of this very difficult trial (and thank you for all of the Disney references, too)!
We are praying for you!
I have been following your story ever since your accident. My granddaughter attends CBU. That’s why I knew about you in the first place.
I want to tell you what tremendous encouragement you have given me through your blog. You are a gifted writer and so very gifted at sharing your tremendous faith. My husband has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. There is no good outcome in this life. I am truly feeling at the end of my rope. Your constant reminders that God works all things for good are a lifeline for me. Thank you for great courage and for sharing your story.
Hi Mary, thanks so much for sharing with us. You’ll be in our prayers, too!
Grace: You certainly have a right to be at the end of your rope. I cannot fathom how you have endured the pain and difficulty for this entire year except through the grace and mercy of our loving God. I would love to hear that you are completely well and can play the violin again. However, you need to know how encouraging you are to others. Your deep faith in our God is your strength. My heart breaks for you as you face so many difficult trials. The only thing I can do is pray for you and Ivan and your parents. When I was able to be in a rehearsal I always watched Ivan plan so proficiently for the UCO. I can see how committed he is to you by helping you so much while he works to provide for you. My God show you His mercy and remove these seizures from your life and heal you. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thanks so much, Marilyn! You’ve written here several times and your comments always bring encouragement 😉
Wow!!! Grace you are an amazing woman and your faith is so encouraging to hear. I love to to read your blog as many do and I’m sure God is do his work though it and touching many people’s lives.
Keep with it.
Thank you and God bless
Oh Grace, this section of your blog has spoken to me so deeply. My brother is enduring constant pain and full disability. I have been interceding for him so long and he suffers more and more. The story of Joseph has been so encouraging here and your comments and insights. Many blessings dearest sister and to Ivan as well.