Job 7:12 (NLT)
“Is not all human life a struggle?”
Job said it first. Well, at least that’s what I think. We laugh when we hear the phrase, “The struggle is real”. It is so relatable. And often not something we want to laugh at. But somehow we all identify with the reality that life is a constant struggle. When we have a momentary reprieve to come up for air in the sea of life, we just wish we could keep things that way. Then another struggle of some sort ensues. Maybe you can relate to some of life’s drama.
- Illness. A sudden diagnosis that leaves you uncertain if life will ever be the same for you.
- Loss. The loss of a loved one. You don’t know how you can cope.
- Finances. Debt keeps climbing, burdens seem impossible.
- Failure. You just can’t seem to overcome.
- Overwhelmed. A workload that you feel you will never be able to overcome.
- Relationship struggles. Unfaithfulness. Betrayal. Back stabbing. Someone’s mad at you. Or you are mad at someone else.
Still not identifying with any of the struggles above? Highly unlikely. But if you don’t, enjoy the moment, friends.
For the rest of us, let’s learn how to struggle.
First, some struggles aren’t real.
Our struggles can be imagined in our brains or what I call trivial struggles, as in, get a real problem. But they are a struggle, nonetheless, until we see God’s purpose in it all and maybe remove some barriers close to home.
Preoccupation with self
Preoccupation with self can keep us in a tailspin worried about what others think about us, creating drama and struggles that are not necessary. Go deeper. Look around. Others might be hurting, too.
Understanding what the real struggle is sets us free to focus on what really matters. And our struggles might be achieving something of great worth.
2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV) “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
Choose your struggles well
We do have a choice to rise above the noise of unhappy people trying to project on us. We can choose not to struggle by overcoming light and momentary struggles with God’s word. But when we are facing a mountain of struggles or a struggle so severe that we see no way through it, this is when we need to learn how to struggle well.
The Real Struggle
When we want to complain and give up, we can take a step back and go deeper. The struggle is likely not something that we can see. The problem we are struggling with needs to be understood through Scripture. Or maybe the person we are struggling with needs prayer and their issues go deeper than the problems on the surface.
Ephesians 6:12, NIV: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
When the struggle is real, God’s strength is greater. Ask Dad for help.
Philippians 4:13 (NIV) “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Not in Vain.
Life is hard. Job warned us about the struggle being real a long time ago, but when our hope is not for the end of struggles, but for God to meet us in our struggles and help us to overcome and glorify Him, our struggles become a statement of victory.
In the end, guys, our struggles are real in the flesh. But when we struggle with God’s word and seek understanding from God in the midst, the fruit can be beautiful. No struggle is wasted when we do that. And when we suffer, we can know that God is there with us. His purposes are always good and what was meant for evil, he will use for our good and His glory. What a hope. Even when the struggle is real, our Great God redeems every struggle.
James 1:12 (NIV) “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”