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. 🙂