Recently, though, we broke down (it wasn't a hard break, mind you) and hire someone to trim our shrubs and weed our flower beds. You must understand, though, that we have more than just normal flower beds. The folks who owned the house before us were sadistic Brits who turned most of the back yard into an English garden before abandoning ship and heading back over the big pond. I suspect they are still laughing about it. Someday I should go to England and beat them silly with their umbrellas.
Anyway, we broke down and hired a super nice guy we'd met through a family connection to come in and try to clean things up for us. His name is Gerry and he brought some of the hardest working guys I've ever seen to spend countless hours pulling weeds, trimming bushes and trees, and putting down mulch.
They're not quite done yet but I was telling Gerry what a super job they've done. Two of his workers are pretty young. One boy must be about 11 or 12 and there is another probably just 15 or 16. Gerry commented to me that, when they finished that day (after working 10 hours straight in 90-degrees plus temperatures), these two young men were tired but very proud of all they had accomplished. He said it was really neat to watch them look over their work and the huge transformation that their hard labor had made. While I wasn't there before they left, I had seen a tiny bit of this during the day when I said a few words of appreciation and commendation to them and they smiled and said "thanks". I half expected them to hit me over the head with a hoe and yell at me for letting things get to be such a mess but they didn't do that. It's neat that they looked over yeard with pride and satisfaction at the end of the day. They'd worked hard, they were hot, tired, and sweaty, but they could see that they'd accomplished what they had sat out to do and that it was all good.
It got me to thinking ... worthwhile things are usually hard work. They can include frustrations, heartache, physical pain, and exhaustion but, in the end, you can stand back and see that that what has been accomplished is good ... that it was all worthwhile.
I believe that, in our lives as disciples, if we find that we're never sweating, that we're never tired, that we're never a bit frustrated, we probably aren't taking our faith journeys seriously enough and we're probably not doing all that God designed us to do. Yes, just like with the young men working in our yard, there should be joy during and after the work but anything worthwhile will have some aches and pains along the way. If it is what God wants us to do, He will make sure in advance that we are prepared and that we have the strength to accomplish things.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 KJV)