I was running down my street the other morning and I became aware of the many interwoven cracks in the road. Some were sealed, some were not. Some were long, some were short. Some vertical, some horizontal.
Later, I did some research and discovered these are often called alligator cracks. Sometimes they are referred to as fatigue cracks or crocodile cracks.
I could strangely relate to these cracks. They reminded me of myself – a series of cracks, patches and seals obtained throughout life’s difficulties. As I dug deeper, I realized I’m probably not the only person who could relate to the cracks in this way. My interest was piqued.
When I continued to research, I learned that alligator cracking is one of the costliest problems to repair according to Alpha Paving Industries in Texas. They say alligator cracking is “digging down to discover the underlying problems, then strengthening the asphalt’s base, is the only long-term asphalt repair solution.”
Isn’t this also true for us? I think how often I’ve been guilty of pretending everything’s peachy and smooth on my surface. But when I allowed myself to dig deeper, I discovered there are underlying problems – ouch! That was, and is, painful. But isn’t that the best way to repair and strengthen our base?
“To perform properly, the surface must have a strong, stable foundation. Lacking the support needed, cracks become more extensive…to the point that it can no longer withstand the weight and pressure of traffic.”
Well, isn’t this interesting? In many ways, we are like a road with alligator cracks, trying to withstand the pressure of life’s traffic. I have found when I don’t invest in my internal work – most importantly take time to strengthen my relationship with God – my foundation becomes unstable. It becomes increasingly difficult to withstand the weight and pressures of the world. It is then that I often tend to withdraw from those rooted in Christ and then even more of my support system fades.
But Jesus strengthens our foundations: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)
In life, it’s not uncommon for there to be a “pile-on” effect with difficulties. Everything happens at once, doesn’t it? In 2008, I can remember my first husband and I separated; my 14-year-old beloved dog needed to be euthanized the following month; and then my 15-year-old cat developed cancer and had to be euthanized. All of this happened in only a matter of four months.
When I look back on that season in my life, I’m grateful for those challenges and for that heartbreak because it all helped me to become new again. It was in building my relationship with Christ that I gave God permission to make me whole again. To seal my alligator cracks and make me stronger than before.
In 1 Peter 5:10 (NLT) it says “In His kindness, God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”
“Assuming that the initial installation was correctly performed, alligator cracking is almost always the result of neglecting to make needed repairs and protect the surface with a sealant.”
In our society, we often have the mentality that we can’t discuss our problems or our issues. That we must be able to handle everything that comes our way – alone. All this does is create more cracks in our interior – our soul. God predicted this in Exodus 18:18 (NLT): “You’re going to wear yourself out – and the people too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.”
We all have cracks. In fact, it is in our cracks that God can do His best work. Our cracks are opportunities to lean into God and become closer to Him. We need to choose to let God repair our alligator cracks and let Him be our sealant. According to curtiscleansweep.com “repairing minor cracks can go a long way toward eliminating alligator areas… which can help your pavement realize its full life span.”
Once we get to the root cause of our cracks and let God seal them, we become stronger. As with roads, life, or the distress of traffic are no longer an issue once we’re fortified by God. “Don’t be afraid for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NLT)
Let’s try to embrace our alligator cracks, for it is in them that we can allow God to be our sealant and they can be repaired. Having experienced those cracks and letting them (and God) make us better and stronger have been some of my most cherished things in life.
How can you let God fill in your alligator cracks? How can you begin to appreciate them as a means to being more whole in Christ?
We’re so glad Angela shared her story with us this week! Including being part of the SMC family, Angela enjoys spending time with her husband, two boys, her family and friends. She loves nature, laughing and improving herself.