A long time ago, there was a man who was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light. Much to his surprise, God had appeared to him. God told the man that He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. He then explained that the man was to push against the rock as hard as he could.
This, the man did day-after-day and night-after-night. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, worn out, and feeling that his whole day had been wasted.
Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture. He placed thoughts into the man’s head: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it.” The man began to feel like the task was impossible for him and that he was a huge failure.
The man begun to think to himself, “Why kill myself over this? I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that will be good enough.” However, before he started shrinking back in his effort, he decided to pray. He prayed that night, “Lord, I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet after all this time, I have not even budged that rock half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”
To this, God responded compassionately, “My son, when long ago I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back has become solid, your hands are calloused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your current strength now surpass that which you used to have. Yes, you haven’t moved the rock, but your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in me. This you have done. And because you obeyed me, I will now move the rock.”
Moral: Sometimes we go through periods of drought in life or ministry, and we can feel like God is absent from our struggle. Yet often times, the fruitfulness that we so desperately crave and pray for is not the fruit that God is trying to produce in the moment. The fruit He’s trying to produce is a better version of us! (Hebrews 12:7-11)