For most of my life I’ve struggled.
I have a family who loves me and I grew up in a very happy home. I didn’t struggle that way. (And I feel a little guilty for even calling what I experience every day a “struggle” when I know that struggle is simply a relative thing. I have no idea what real struggling is – I only know what struggling feels like for me.)
The reason I “struggle” all boils down to one thing: all I want to do is live my life as God wants me to. Why is that a struggle? Because it seems like that’s not how I’m built. I realize what a great case this makes for not believing or trusting or following God… after all, if we were meant to follow him, it wouldn’t be difficult, would it? It wouldn’t go against our nature. Those are valid points, and points I will gladly address in the future if anyone wants me to, but they are not the point of my post.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. -James 1:2-4
Come on, God… what is so joyful about facing trials? NOTHING! It sucks! It breaks you down, tears you up, breaks your heart. IT HURTS.
Yeah, yeah. It makes me a better person. I get it. It still sucks.
This is what I’m talking about. The push/pull. The against nature thing. But then I realize something quite profound. I seek improvement in myself. I look for ways I’m weak and try to make that part of myself stronger. I seek it out. And it’s not because I’m a masochist; it’s because it’s in my nature.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
God uses the struggles of his people to strengthen them and to refresh others. God uses that struggling to produce in us holiness.
What is at the end of the journey?
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob.
Look upon our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
O LORD Almighty,
blessed is the man who trusts in you.
This is a psalm filled with satisfaction. It’s filled with faith that God is good, and the knowledge that when you seek after him you will be better off.
Dearest Heavenly Father,
I would rather spend one day living for you than a thousand living in the world I’ve concocted for myself, even if that means a struggle. It all comes down to this: You know better than me. And I have to trust that.