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The weary man rested his forehead against the cold rock, allowing his burning muscles a moment’s rest. “Lord, this is an utter waste of time. I want to obey, but I really don’t see the point in trying any longer.”

Several months previously, he had awakened one morning to find an enormous boulder of jagged rock in his front yard. He circled the massive stone, reaching out a hand to touch the rough surface, wondering what it meant.

As his fingers brushed the rock, God spoke to his heart.

I want you to move this rock. Every morning, come out here and try to move it.

The man was startled, then confused. Why would God place a rock in his yard? And why would He ask him to move it?

But he had a willing heart, so he obeyed.

Every morning, he faced the rock. Muscles straining, arms outstretched, he gripped the rock and tried to move it.

Some mornings, he stood staring out the window at the rock before he tried to move it. On days he felt especially weary, he took longer walking through the dew-covered grass to the rock.

But he always obeyed. He didn’t miss a single day.

One evening he arrived home from work, stopped his car in the driveway, and simply sat, looking at the rock.

“That’s it. Today’s the day. God asked me to move the rock, and I’m going to do it.”

He sprinted to the rock, throwing his jacket aside as he ran. Hope coursed through his veins, and his heart pounded. He grasped the rock and strained with every once of strength he possessed.

For an hour he wrestled. His hands bled from gripping the rough crevices, and abrasions covered his arms and shoulders. His shirt hung ripped and torn.

Finally, gasping and shaken, he slid to the ground in defeat.

“Lord, this is an utter waste of time. I want to obey, but I really don’t see the point in trying any longer.”

God whispered to his heart.

That’s enough for today. Go inside. Have something to eat. Rest.

Hauling himself to his feet, the man limped toward the house. He cleaned his wounds and fixed a simple meal. He fell into bed, exhausted and feeling like a failure.

The next morning, he pulled back the curtain from the front window, dreading the sight that had greeted him for months.

But the front yard was empty. The rock was gone.

The man ran outside, his eyes sweeping the expanse of grass. No boulder in sight. It was truly gone.

He walked slowly back into his house, confused. What had happened?

As he stepped inside, the voice of God spoke once more.

Look in the mirror.

He obeyed, pausing in front of the mirror that graced the wall of his front hallway.

For a few moments, he just looked. He saw strong arms and shoulders which months ago were weak. He saw legs strengthened by daily straining and pain. He saw hands strong enough to carry heavy burdens, made that way through the pain they had endured.

One more time, God whispered.

It was never about the rock. It was about how I was molding you into the man I wanted you to be. Now go and help the weary, lift the wounded, and give your strength to the weak.

Yes, it’s a simple story, but it teaches a great truth.

My friend, the rock you’re facing today—that trial, that storm—has a deeper purpose than you realize.

It’s not just about getting through it. Or bringing a happy resolution to the situation.

It’s about how God is growing and strengthening you. It’s about the things He’s teaching you. It’s about the people you will help at the end of it.

For years, I faced a rock that was impossible to move. I fought to save my marriage with every once of strength I had. I hid most of the tears, but inside my heart was bruised and bleeding.

I prayed. I stayed. I tried everything I knew to fix things, but it was never enough.

And one day, it was over. All my straining was in vain. My left ring finger was empty, and my heart emptier still.

“What was the point of it all, Lord? Why did you let me struggle for so long, and try so hard, and fight a battle You knew I would lose?”

I may never know the full answer to those questions, but I do know this:

Through the pain, God gave me new eyes of compassion to see hurting people around me. He gave me wisdom to share with those struggling in confusion. He gave me hope, comfort, joy, and strength—and told me to share that with the world.

He showed me how He can redeem broken hearts and lives and how He can bring beauty from ashes, even without the outcome we desire. He told me to spread this message of joy to as many people as will listen.

It wasn’t about the rock. It was about what God was doing through me.

It’s the same for you, my friend. Those things that break your heart, those rocks that simply won’t move—it’s not just about them.

It’s about how God is going to use you.

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” {Job 23:10}

(Please note, the rock illustration is not original with me. I heard it many years ago, although I’ve forgotten where. I’ve retold it in my own words to illustrate a beautiful Biblical principle.)

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