by Lori Stanley Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld
“Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:36-40 ESV
Don’t you just love Charlie Brown?
His big, old, round head, and his black dot eyes. His sober approach to the trials of daily life and his wise but innocent perspective? Charlie seems to exist in a dimension just one degree apart from all the other kids – separated by an invisible shield. One that keeps him from kicking footballs, but also helps him see what others cannot.
Remember Charlie Brown on Halloween? He is trick-or-treating with his friends, but when comparing their candy sacks after each house the other kids exclaim, I got a popcorn ball! I got a chocolate bar! I got gumdrops!
Then, poor Charlie – I got a rock. I can relate to Charlie Brown.
It’s hard to stand by while others receive exactly what they are requesting or hoping to find or need while you’re holding a sack full of rocks. But sometimes, that’s how life works – even when we love Jesus.
When disasters strike, there are stories of miracles, people who should have been harmed, but were somehow delivered. Praise God for that!
But there are also stories of those who fell victim to tragedy, were caught in the crossfire, lost precious loved ones in the storm. And how hard is it to praise God when the miracle passed over the one you love only to land on another? It’s hard as rock.
Or, perhaps you’ve worked towards a dream, knowing it’s a dream from God – a vision, a goal, a ministry, an art. And you thought you knew where it was going. Believed it was blessed – prayed over – inspired. And you have poured everything into the endeavor.
But the finish line eludes you, or worse, it seems to be disappearing all together. You find yourself on the sidelines watching others called out onto the field, crossing the finish line, achieving the dream while you sit by holding a bag of rocks. How hard is that? Hard as rock.
But, what gift does Charlie Brown give us? This little cartoon with a soul. His story makes us feel less alone in a crazy world. His perseverance inspires us to carry on. His disappointments help us see that often there is more to life than getting exactly what we want.
Through Charlie Brown, we are drawn to the mystery of grace. The grace of a God who pours out His love in ways we sometimes miss while we’re standing at His door asking for what we want.
And Charlie Brown reminds us that there is a bigger story. While the other children were busy about their lives, Charlie stands there with a sack full of rocks and moves us to ask the greater questions.
It’s hard to be Charlie Brown. It’s painful to watch others rejoice or receive while we stand there wanting, grieving, lacking, struggling, waiting. The temptation is to become bitter or to assume we’ve been rejected or that we are unseen. When really, God has simply written us a role that moves us – and others – to ask the greater questions. It’s a role that is hard as rock.
But Jesus was the first rock – the cornerstone – and on Peter the rock, Christ built His church, and we are all living stones. So, we are not alone.
Did you get a rock? I know it’s hard – but take it to Jesus who has held that same rock and praise God, dear Charlie Brown, praise God.
About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. Her latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.
Join the conversation: Have you ever been given a rock? What deeper issues did it lead you to question?