A Rock and a Hard Place

Difficulty Joy TrustBetween a rock and a hard spot.

I’m thinking it’s the best place to be.

I’m sitting on Mayne Island at our family home. The sun is shining, the house is still quiet, I’ve got my cup of tea and my little computer, my Bible and journal with a pen in hand and all is well and fine with the world.

It’s that moment in time, that day or hour or week, the now, where everything stops for a touch of time.

The needs and the demands and the opportunities are all on hold, standing back.

Into this space I received an email this morning.

In it a reminder that there are ten Ugandan churches eagerly waiting for me to come back their way once more (I’ll add those to the other nine invitations from five different countries).

It also contained a plea to help fix a difficulty (I’ll add it to the other twenty-plus pleas for help).

All of which are soon-as-possible please.

Now I get this ASAP place, I’ve a few as-soon-as-possible things laid out before God myself.

And in my younger years I was the ultimate as-soon-as-possible person. In fact, if you asked me when I wanted something done, I would reply, “Yesterday please.”

A mover and a shaker I’ve always been about speed and efficiency and action.

Thank the good Lord above, I’ve actually been cured of much of this.

(I can hear a few of you laughing)

The thing is, I’ve found that between a rock and a hard place is that space where we don’t have to fix a thing.

Between a rock and a hard place can have us thrashing and rushing and solving,

Or it can be that warm (in coastal BC it would be relished as the one warm place), and cozy and tucked away out of the wind, kind of place,

Where nothing has to be fixed and nothing has be solved.

Where the why’s and the how’s are held in open hands, but released at the same time.

We don’t have to have all the answers, and we don’t have to see our way clear of the problem at this time.

Deep into my bones this settled back about fifteen years ago. It was during a particularly rough patch of life. We had little to no food, I had five young children and I had personally gone down to eating one small bit of food a day so that my kids could eat.

This difficulty lasted in varying degrees for more than a years time. I got very used to our fridge being empty. If a friend would happen by and see into our fridge they were shocked… at what I had become very used to.

I tell this story because somewhere during that time I was cured of needing to have things fixed; of rushing to make things better.

(And I’ve never had to have my fridge or cupboards full ever since)

It settled deep into my psyche that despite the difficulty we were okay.

Was it a difficult time, for sure. Did we survive, yes. Was the way out of that time what I thought it would be, no.

I learned to reconcile the rock and the hard place.

Today, I see others rock-and-hard-places, and I am deeply glad for them. Delighted in an odd way, because I know the growth and faith and the many, many good things that will come out of that place.

Maturity is not something to be taken lightly. Spiritually, emotionally, psychologically we all need growth and stamina and guts, and there is nothing like the hard spots of life to grow these things.

Once we’ve traversed our own rock-and-hard-places, nothing is scary anymore.


And on top of all this, the rock and hard place is where God lives.

And it is where we can settle; cozy up, entering into ‘now’ like never before.

That place where pleas and opportunities and questions abound, but not a one of them must be answered at this time.

Between the rock and the hard place is the hardest place to be and the best place to be.

I wouldn’t rob anyone of the opportunity to have their own.

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