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Why can’t this be easier?

Do you ever just ask yourself:  “Why do I have to do this?  Why can’t this be easier?” 

I was listening to a bible study this week and studying the book of Haggai.  If you’re like me then you may not even be familiar with the book of Haggai at all.  Leading up to this book the Israelites have returned from captivity (this is another captivity… after they escaped Egypt, wandered in the desert, and arrived in the Promised Land.)  They were instructed by God to rebuild his temple.  At first, they were so happy and excited about returning to their homes that they were more than willing to get to work on the temple.

Except the work was hard.

And they got distracted.

And they got discouraged.

And they let their own concerns, their own lives lead them away from completing God’s house first.

And fifteen years later, the temple still wasn’t rebuilt. 

Fifteen years! 

Because of that, the people and their land suffered.  They were separated from their God because they’d failed to provide a place for Him to dwell with them. 

“Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD.

Haggai 1:8

Go up into the mountains…

Bring down timber…

Build my house…

The temple was a very special place in the time of the Israelites.  Before Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the people needed the temple to come near to the Lord.  It was the only place they could truly commune with him and be in his presence. 

But seriously… this seems like a lot of work, right?  I can just about imagine what those Israelites might have thought as they were climbing that mountain: “This is God’s house.  He can do anything.  His ways are limitless and He has all of the power.  Why can’t He just snap His fingers and His house be built?  Better yet, He is king of all creation, why can’t He just tell the timber to come down off the mountain on its own?  Why do I have to do all of this work?”

If you’ve seen the movie Karate Kid then you know the “wax on, wax off” scene.  Young Daniel wants to learn karate so that he can start defending himself, so he asks Mr. Miyagi to teach him.  The sage old sense agrees.  Daniel arrives for his first lesson and Mr. Miyagi puts him right to work…

… waxing his car…

… painting his fence…

… sand his deck…

And as you can just about imagine, Daniel has had enough.  He didn’t come to Mr. Miyagi to be forced labor.  He came to learn!

But he had learned.  Mr. Miyagi, clearly frustrated and maybe a little angry, tells Daniel to show him “paint fence.”  When Daniel does, he shows him how that movement of his hands is actually a defensive action.  Then he tells him to show him “wax on, wax off”  and “sand deck” and so on… eventually, it becomes clear that the teacher wasn’t just using the student as a slave.  He was teaching him lessons not just in maneuver but in patience and hard work and determination. 

You see, friend, nothing is ever wasted in God’s economy. Our backbreaking work. Our grief and suffering. Our fear and anxiety. Our broken hearts. If those things are done in the building of His temple, the building of that place within us where He comes to us in relationship, then even that isn’t wasted.


As a result of all this, my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord.

1 Corrinthians 15:58

Go up into the mountains… Life is not easy.  We sometimes have to climb tremendous obstacles to do the things God calls us to do.  Are you finding yourself climbing a mountain right now?  Is each step up harder than the next?  Do you want to stop, to quit, to give up?

Go up into the mountains…

Bring down timber… Timber doesn’t just exist.  Trees have to be cut down first, then carried down the mountain.  Are there things in your life you have to cut down?  Are there things the Lord is telling you to remove from your life?  Are you resistant to that?  Is the work too hard and do you want to stop?

Bring down timber…

Build my house… Building the temple was vital for the people to continue in relationship with their Lord.  Is there something the Lord is asking you to do today to bring Him closer to you?  Is there something He’s calling you to do to bring others closer to Him?  Are you tired, feeling discouraged, feeling unworthy?

Build my house…

Even if the work was hard and you gave up…

Even if you got distracted and gave up…

Even if you got discouraged and gave up…

Even if you focused on your own life for a while instead of working on God’s house…

Even if it’s been fifteen or fifty years…

Today is the perfect day!

Go up into the mountains…

Bring down timber…

Build my house…

‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Haggai 2:9

By oliviahardinwriter

When Olivia Hardin started having movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper. Before long, the writing bug had bitten her, and she knew she wanted to be a published author. Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, she was temporarily “cured” of the urge to write. That is, until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again. Olivia has attended three different universities over the years and toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology. Then one day she heard the term “road scholar,”' and she knew that was what she wanted to be. Now she “studies” anything and everything just for the joy of learning. She's also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she’s sometimes accused of being artistic. A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny, their corgi Bonnie Sue, and their new rescue Heidi Ho.

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