The Value of Difficulty

17 05 2012

Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)

Problems.  Difficulties.  Challenges.  Tough situations.

Do these serve any other purpose besides stressing us out and making our lives chronically and acutely unhappy?

When our first parents ate the forbidden fruit from the tree God set off-limits, it plunged the human race into an existence where work no longer was sheer joy.  Work became, well, work.

We’re not told what kind of fruit they ate.  We don’t know that it was an apple.  We only know that the eating of it produced undesirable consequences.

Is there more than just misery as a result of this?

There is.  God told man the ground was cursed for his sake.  Other translations say, “Cursed is the ground because of you.”  There are some very helpful things that issue from this as we approach our the work of our lives.

  • Work became difficult.  But it is this very difficulty that helps us grow and learn to solve problems.  This very difficulty acts as resistance to develop muscle in us.
  • Work became a more time-consuming pursuit to grant yield.  This helps us 1) stay out of trouble because a long week’s worth of work tires us out and 2) it gives us appreciation for a job well exerted and well done.
  • The work in our fallen world teaches us our reliance upon God and the consequences of bad choices.  When you experience difficulty that issues from this state of things, it is a reminder to do the right thing.

Nobody enjoys stress, but it can work in one’s favor.  Leverage and grow from it!

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