The Struggle is Real!

tempted1“I’ll listen,” I told the other person who was near tears. “I understand what it means to hurt, to struggle, to feel that kind of disappointment.”  And, I did. The story that poured out was one of missed expectations, broken dreams, and poor choices. My calling as a pastor (the word means ‘shepherd’) is a lot more than standing in front of a congregation preaching a sermon. Far more of my time is spent as an encourager, helping people see past the moment, to find hope and a reason to go ‘steady on.’

We all struggle.  And, most of us tend to have an idealized perception of somebody’s life that makes our struggle even more difficult. “Why are they so lucky?” we wonder.  It’s a dangerous place in which to linger for long. Envy creeps in and bitterness follows soon after.

Paul writes of the “temptation that is common” to the human experience.
Evil is real and resists the goodness of God.
The sinful nature works against the spiritual creating conflict inside of us that is sometimes feels almost overwhelming.
The God-created systems that should help and support us are compromised by sin and often end up oppressing the very ones they should help!
The result is that sometimes the struggle grows so intense we almost despair of life itself.

Have you ever said, “I am just so done, so over it all!”?  I am only half-joking on those kind of days when I suggest that I’m going to run away and join the circus. So what can we do? Let’s start with Paul’s inspired words. “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, The Message)  We must not escape into some fantasy about finding heaven on earth! There is no magical solution that takes away the frustrations forever, but there is Power to endure and defeat evil.

First, we understand that our experience is NOT unique. Others struggle, too!
Second, we bring an important fact to the forefront. God will not abandon us, nor is He unaware of our struggle.
Third, He is invested in our ultimate overcoming.

Why sin and evil are allowed to test us is a question that above my pay grade. Oh, yes, I know many of the arguments, but in the end we simply do not have the capacity to know the mysteries of God’s mind that gave us victory by sending His Son to die and to be raised with assurance of eternal life for all who believe. Why didn’t He just finish off the Devil and establish the Kingdom that we anticipate? Honestly, the question is bigger than me. By faith, I grab hold of the promise of the Cross and the Resurrection and find HOPE that steadies me. And, you can do that, too.

We can spend time whining that ‘life is not fair’ and compare our lot with that of someone else. Or, we can understand that we all face testing and temptation, though in differing ways.  We can, and we must, bring ourselves to a place before Him where we declare His truth – that He is near and that He is here now.  In the middle of it all, we let the Truth inform us so that we always know that He is a good Father who is working to keep us, to help us, to display His eternal power in us and through us. The lie that is as old as human history is that God is just looking for a reason to condemn us. The Truth is that He loves us ‘even while we are sinning.’

David’s prayer shapes a good frame of mind for those of us who struggle. Take this word from the Word and make it your prayer today.
“To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.

No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.
Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.”
(Psalm 25:1-5, NIV)  Amen

____________________

Where I Belong

Sometimes it feels like I’m watching
From the outside
Sometimes it feels like I’m breathing
But am I alive
I won’t keep searching for answers
That aren’t here to find

 All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

 So when the walls come falling
Down on me
And when I’m lost in the current
Of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance
Holding me

 When the earth shakes
I want to be found in You
When the lights fade
I want to be found in You

 Where I belong

Jason Ingram | Jason Roy
© 2010 Be Essential Songs (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)
Havery Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)
So Essential Tunes (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)

CCLI License # 810055

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s