Think of the Starving Children in Africa…

Remember when you were a kid and you hated what your mom served for dinner, and she’d say something like this: “I know you hate broccoli, but there are starving children in Africa who would love this meal.”?

I hated that speech.


I know, Mom was right. But you know what? I still hated broccoli (still do – there’s not enough melted cheese in the world to make that veggie palatable*). I still gagged it down. I would have gladly given every serving of broccoli to the starving children of Africa. But that wasn’t an option. And knowing I had more food than they did, didn’t change my taste buds or my rotten “you can make me eat it, but you won’t make me like it” attitude.

I don’t make my kids eat broccoli (though a couple of them actually like it!), but I do find myself saying things like that. I say it to myself, too, and my husband. And not about food, but – worse – about life: “Sure, this move is tough, but at least we’re all healthy!” “I know you miss your friends, but at least you’re just an hour away and not thousands of miles!”

It is a terrible thing to do. Worse than drowning broccoli in cheese. When we are struggling, we need to deal with the struggle. We need to look at that nasty broccoli sitting on our plate and recognize we have to eat it. Mom’s not letting us up until we do. We can cry and whine and complain and fake gag, but when we’re done, the broccoli will still be sitting there. Getting even more slimy and bland. Might as well eat it while it’s hot so it’ll slide down faster.

In life, sometimes things happen we just don’t like. Tough stuff. Pretending it’s not tough doesn’t make it easier. Recognizing other people have it worse doesn’t help either. The tough stuff is still there, waiting to be dealt with.

So we need to deal with it. God can handle our ranting and raving. He can handle our crying and complaining. Just read the Psalms. We can let Him know just how much we hate whatever struggle we may face. And, what I have found, after years of eating metaphorical broccoli, is that he doesn’t take the tough stuff away, but he does help you “swallow” it. He’ll get you through it. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. His ways are higher than ours. His purposes for us are great. And “this, too, shall pass.” Broccoli is very often followed by chocolate cake. So hang in there. Things will get better!

*I apologize to broccoli-lovers. I’m sure it’s a wonderful vegetable with great qualities and maybe you even have a recipe that is so good I can barely taste the broccoli…but I still hate it, and now that I’m an adult, I can refuse it any time I want. So no recipes, please! If you feel the need to send something, the name of a good counselor – one who deals in childhood vegetable trauma – would be most beneficial 😉

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