Two Misunderstood Reasons Why Life Is Hard

I’ve watched a set of house finches build three nests in the corner gable of my front porch. 

The morning after the first day of construction, I walked out onto the porch to find the nest destroyed. Straw, grass, and fluff lay strewn all over the porch. 

Over the next few days, the industrious little birds rebuilt their nest bigger and better. But I again found it demolished, only this time, amidst the rubble, I saw two tiny blue eggs—smashed, their yolks making shiny yellow puddles on the wooden floor. I’m not sure if the finches keep destroying their nest or if a predator is attacking them. 

Today my little finch couple is at it again, and I watch their efforts with mixed emotions. One part of me is rooting for their success—the perfect nest in which to deposit their eggs, hatch their young, and raise their family. Another part of me, fearful that their third attempt will also end in futility, hopes they’ll quit and spare us all the sorrow. 

I see myself in this little bird pair. This is why I can’t take my eyes from the drama playing itself out on my front porch. 

If my feathered friends keep destroying their nest because it isn’t quite right, I applaud them for their high standards and perseverance. Keep at it, little fellows. Don’t stop until you have a nest you can be proud of. One that will accomplish everything you hope for and dream of. 

Colossians 3:23 comes to mind: 

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” 

If an enemy keeps destroying their nest, I want to cheer them on all the more. Don’t let some slimy, thieving, good-for-nothing threaten your home, disrupt your family, and steal your dreams. Keep building little guys. I’m rooting for you. 

I think of 1 Peter 5:8: 

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith . . .” 

There are days, like the ones unfolding in my little corner of the porch, when it’s hard to know if life is difficult because we’re going about it wrong or because the enemy is attacking us. Satan uses setbacks to defeat us. God uses setbacks to redirect us.  

When I had to resign from teaching a beloved Sunday School class because my husband had accepted a ministry position at another church, it looked to me like a setback. Instead God used the loss to redirect me. 

Without a teaching outlet, I began to blog. Blogging led to a book, then a position as the editor of a Christian magazine, and then a second book. In God’s perfect timing, he again opened up teaching and speaking opportunities, but not until my husband’s ministry was well established. 

Other times, our nests come crashing down because an enemy has dealt us a crushing blow. Infidelity, immorality, financial loss, or precarious health threaten to destroy and defeat us. In the space between building and rebuilding, we sometimes contemplate quitting. 

We aren’t alone. John 6 records that many of Jesus’ disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 

“’You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.

“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’” (v. 66-68). 

So when our nests come crashing down, we gather the pieces, take a deep breath, and pray for God’s sustaining grace. “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it,” Paul promises us in Philippians 1:6. It is only by his mercy that we get up and try again. And again. And again. 

I don’t know where you are today.

If you’re rebuilding because of a redirection, take courage. “"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). God will do exceedingly, abundantly, above all you could ever ask or imagine as you yield your will to his in faith and trust.

If you’re rebuilding after an attack, take courage. The promises of Psalm 121 are for you:

I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? 
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 
He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 
The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 
The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life; 
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. 

As of this writing, my feathered friends’ nest still stands. Perhaps third time’s a charm. Regardless, God sees my birds, just like he sees you and me. He doesn’t just observe our struggles, however, like a passive watcher. Instead he is intimately acquainted with all our ways and actively involved in our attempts at the faith life. 

I find much comfort in this. I hope you do, too. 

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Mat. 10:29-32). 

Are you redirecting or rebuilding? If you’ll leave your first name in the comment box, I’d consider it a privilege to pray for you.

If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe? I'll send you twice-weekly 5-minute devotions to help nourish your soul. 
Because women need to connect with God in the craziness of life. 

Enter your email address and VALIDATE the Feedburner email sent to your inbox.

Delivered by FeedBurner


  1. Replies
    1. It is my honor to pray for you, Karen.

    2. Father, you know Barb's needs. Be her advocate, her strong tower, a shield about her. Meet her every need according to your riches and glory. Draw her closer to you and use her for your glory. Amen.

  2. Patricia. (Having tried every wrong door to happiness before becoming a Christian in my 40s, I can 100% relate to those verses in John 6. Love the verses and love Peter very much.)

    1. Amen, Patricia. I'm praying for you today.

  3. Leah. Trying to stabilize with my husband. We both need provision in order to pay our debts. We have also had trouble finding a suitable place to live since we got married. We need God's direction in every single decision, and patience.

    1. Leah, I'm asking God to guide and provide for you and your husband.

  4. Rachel. Where do I begin... just let the Lord lead on how to pray. Thank you so very much!!!

    1. Father, you know Rachel's situation. You are intimately acquainted with all her ways. Meet her in her time of need. Remind her of your love. Glorify yourself in and through her, and use her story to draw others to yourself.