It was the end of September 1960 and my family had recently moved from Mansfield, Ohio, to Riverside, California. I had loved first-grade in Ohio, but apparently was “bored’ in second grade in the Golden State. My mother said I usually came home after school, didn’t want to talk about anything and then threw up. I would have suspected the cafeteria food or my tight perm, but Mrs. Cunningham, my parents and the principal got together and decided there was only one appropriate course of action.
After work that Friday, my dad sat on the edge of my bed with me. I don’t remember how the conversation started, but I definitely recall how it ended.
“So do you want to stay in second grade and have EASY work? Or go to third grade and have HARD work?”
With just-turned-seven-year-old exuberance, I replied: “I want to go to third grade and have HARD work, Daddy!”
On Monday morning, I took my crayons out of my desk and marched down the hall of Magnolia Elementary to Miss Milford’s class, where I happily found “hard” work and stopped puking.
Pretty sure that was the last time in my life I voluntarily chose hard instead of easy.
Remember those Staples’ “easy” buttons from about ten years ago? Personally, I would like the phrase “That was easy!” to be a guiding mantra of my day. And I can’t figure out why someone would manage to “hack’ the “easy” button and turn it into a recording device. Seriously! I watched the how-to video online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OEFxc3zTls and still don’t know why anyone would think this was fun to do. It doesn’t look easy to me. But to each his own, I guess.
As for me, I’m always on the lookout for ways to make life easier–for myself or people I care about. I pray for quick healings, good test results, uncomplicated surgeries, untroubled marriages, effortless parenting and tranquil decisions.
But more often than not, it seems those prayers do not afford me a chance to respond with an “easy” button. Not only does life often not get any easier, sometimes it gets a whole lot harder–with no relief or explanation in sight.
I know many of you know exactly what I mean because I’ve sat with you while you heard bad news. I’ve prayed with you when your world turned upside down. And I’ve cried with you when the worst actually happened.
You and I both know that life has not been easy for you and your family.
The word “easy” only appears in the Bible nine times–at least in the New Living Translation. Proverbs has a verse abut lizards being easy to catch and the OldTestament prophet Ezekiel warns that scattered sheep make an easy target for predators.
But my favorite “easy” verse is found in Matthew 11:
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.‘”
Forget about the “easy” button and struggling to make life easy-peasy.
Let the Lord direct you each day and believe that His will won’t lead you where His grace won’t keep you. Walking with Him is a much easier way because He will see you “Through It All.”
Here’s an old favorite of mine from Cece Winans and Andrae Crouch (whom I once interviewed when he played at Houghton College). I don’t usually choose live performances, but this a powerful duet and there are Spanish subtitles so my Hispanic friends can sing a long too! If it doesn’t automatically load, please click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWcxfOlCI3M