An Encouragement on The Topic of Struggle


It is the struggle in life that often renders me powerless enough for long enough to make sincere space (in my otherwise egocentric mind) for God.

I wish I could say that without toil I glorify God, that in all things good and perfect, say a lush garden or a sensitive moment, that my born instinct is to turn t0 God and be overwhelmed with thanksgiving. I wish it was my instinct to not feel good owed to me. To always recognize grace and beauty as a gift. To glorify someone who deserves glory. I wish it was my instinct to choose faithfulness to my creator. But as the book tells it: centuries of waywardness and deception has allowed for me to be a woman who is genetically predisposed to choosing myself over everything and everyone else. I am hardwired to wander from rightness.

The most basic strand of pride has created an ugly pattern in me. If I go long enough without struggling, I begin to overlook the face and works of God.

Oddly enough, even with all of the astonishing beauty and miraculous good in the world, maybe I could somehow still explain it all away. Maybe without struggle, without need, I wouldn’t have enough depth to reach for God. Maybe without struggle, I wouldn’t hope in his ability OR simply believe in his existence.

It is not until desperation that the temporary God I’ve made of myself crumbles. It is not until prostrate on the floor beating my fists in disbelief or frustration or downright anger, or maybe in the fetal position rocking my wounded self to pseudo-consolation, that I die to a role I was never meant to carry.

I truly believe that God is good, and that he wishes we would just choose to dwell with him. To be right with him. I believe he wishes that we would just choose to see clearly what he has made clear to see. That he is God and we are not. But I also believe that his graceful nature allows him to understand. It is a wonder he hasn’t given up on us. It is a wonder he sees the struggles we’ve bound ourselves to, and uses them for betterment. How gorgeous that he allows the struggles, or the deceptions from Satan, and the adulterousness of our choosing them, to again lead us back to him. What love.

I’ve often wondered why God would even allow for Satan to rule the Earth. Great, God rules heaven. Great, Satan rules hell. But why is the land we are born on subject to both evil and good? As I’ve experienced the sorrow of a chronically ill baby, as I’ve endured the breathlessness of witnessing my dad dead on the bed in front of me at a tender nine years old, as I’ve drown in the pit of my stomach walking into a room where my (then) boyfriend and dear friend we’re having sex… as I myself, confusingly enough, have chosen to hurt people I love…

the answer has been made more lucid.

What I’ve come to thus far is this:

It is the need that draws us in. It is the brokenness that sobers us up. It is the horridness of the devil that will lead us to recognize the goodness of God.

But my LORD, pain is pain. And, in the moment, of course it’s not just a hypothetical tool for redemption. It is pain. And it doesn’t feel right to grieve the loss of comfort, or to gasp in the anguish of loss, or to grapple with the unresolved whys.

Some moments and some days, it is utterly and wholly crushing to breath.

And some of the other days, it is absolutely and emphatically beautiful to be alive.

But for those who may be in the midst of the struggle: It is your struggle that will allow you to humble up (yes, even more) and meet God’s powerfulness.

Because, struggle, for me, is where God has not yet been made King. And struggle, for me, is the sign of an unresolved/unfinished life. Struggle is symptomatic of need. And need hurts. And dear God, no one wants to hurt forever.

It is the unsatisfied struggler that will finally stop looking for answers within, who will die to their own self-crowned-King, and call for the true God, and in enough time, when his truth is revealed in way that is finally understood, it is the struggle that will allow us to know for ourselves what we would otherwise reject:

Only God is good.

(Praying for you who stumble here, that you would be bound up by his grace over all things in your life. And that you would be made whole this morning, even in the midst of your own powerlessness, as you begin to recognize and gladly NEED more of his presence.)


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