The Sense Found in My Struggles

by APC on June 04, 2015

We will all face struggles in life. And, it’s our human nature to ask God, “Why?” We may not always know the purpose of our struggles, but He will always give us the ability to emerge from our struggles triumphantly.

The Line Between Our Heart and Hardship

Paul faced many hardships in his life, and one in particular he referred to as his “thorn in the flesh” (II Corinthians 12:7). He asked the Lord three times to remove this particular issuance and God said, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (II Corinthians 12:9, KJV). Paul finally realized through all of his struggles:

…will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong (II Corinthians 12:9–10, KJV).

When we examine the story of Job in Scripture, Job lost his family, possessions, and faced bodily injury all because the devil was trying to prove that he didn’t have a strong relationship with God. In the midst of Job’s struggles, we can learn one key point:

…Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all of this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (Job 1:21–22, KJV).

Job acknowledged that God had sovereign authority over everything He had placed in his life. God had every right to give and to take away. Both of these men—Paul and Job—drew a line in the sand in their life before the “troubles” showed up. They knew where they stood with God and the relationship they had with Him. If we do not determine where we stand in our relationship with God before hardship appears, we will not be able to draw a line afterward.

Three Origins of Life’s Struggles

Life in General

Scripture tells us that God rains on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). Everyone will get wet whether we like it or not. Fewer people are able to withstand the everyday struggles life brings. If our relationship with God isn’t strong enough to handle the minute crises of every life, we won’t be able to worship Him and stand strong in our faith when the big issues appear.

Our Own Vices

We’re all humans, and therefore, we aren’t perfect. We can’t always blame all problems on life’s circumstances, the devil, or even God—we are sometimes the one and only culprit. Paul said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Romans 7:18, KJV). God’s Spirit needs to take control of what our flesh (which is bad) has always reigned over.

The Devil

The devil will use any instance, opportunity, and person to manipulate us and our walk with the Lord. Scripture tells us “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12, KJV). The root cause of our struggles is not always of this world—but caused in the spiritual realm. But, we are promised in Scripture that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35–39). We are more than conquerors over our struggles because the Lord is on our side!

The Benefits of Struggles

Struggles Make a Difference

God may place a struggle in our life because sometimes, that is the only act that will make a difference in our walk with Him.  If we’re not making time for the Lord, God will cause a situation to arise in our life to draw us closer to Him. Struggles are meant to prove positive results in our life. Not everything that is good for us will feel good, be easy to endure, and be something we want to happen in our life. When we look at our situation with God’s perspective—everything is meant for our good (Romans 8:28)—we’ll see the benefit of it.

Struggles Strengthen Us

Paul said his struggle would strengthen him—life struggles would make him strong spiritually with the Lord (II Corinthians 12:10). We need to learn to depend upon God in the weak times and give Him the glory when He brings us out. When others see how the Lord has brought us through a situation, He will get that glory. We must remember that the glory that’s at the end of our struggle is worth the thorn in the middle.

Struggles Bring Better Results

If we don’t go through struggles in life, we won’t have the proper outlook on life and our spiritual walk. King David faced many hardships during his rule over Israel, but because of adversity, he spent much time inquiring of the Lord and developing a close walk with Him. I Chronicles 29 depicts the end of David’s life as one of riches and honor. Conversely, David’s son, King Solomon, who had everything given to him on a silver platter, had a negative outlook on life and ungodly mindset. He was not a man after God’s on heart. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon mentions his view “under the sun.” He never looked up to the Lord and had a “horizontal view” of life.

Three Ways Struggles Advance Spiritual Health

Struggles Help Us Be Honest About Ourselves

If we are going to overcome a struggle in life, we need to be honest with ourselves. When we come face-to-face with our own spiritual condition, we will learn to stop justifying our behavior and turn to the Lord. David, after engaging with a married woman, killing her husband, and trying to hide his scandalous affair, repents and acknowledges what he’s done wrong (Psalms 51). When we admit to our sins and ask for forgiveness, God will come in, wash us clean, and create in us a new heart and mindset.

Struggles Push Us to Depend on God

When we face a struggle that is greater than the day-to-day bumps in the road, we learn what we can’t handle on our own. Our greater situations cause us to look to God to lean on Him for resolution. God has promised to fight our battles for us. We will drown in the sea of life’s situations if we don’t turn to God and allow Him to forge through the storm on our behalf.

Struggles Build our Faith

We don’t know how much faith we have until we’ve been through the fire. Peter tells us that when we’re tried with fire, there is much joy ahead (I Peter 1:6–7). We need to endure a trial for a short while—one day there will be rejoicing; our struggles are never without benefit. Trials show evidence of God’s power and faithfulness and also speak volumes to others around us about how great God is!

Seeing the Sense

Our struggle may not just be for our benefit. David, in all of his struggles, attracted the attention of some unruly and downtrodden men. After observing David’s relationship with the Lord, and God’s mighty hand at work in his life, these men emerged as mighty men (II Samuel 23:8). David was able to influence others to become servants of Christ and to obtain a relationship with God on their own. Job emerged from his situation with two times the wealth and family he had before entering his trial. Paul continued to move on and won many hearts to the Lord through his ministry. There will always be sense to our struggles. We may have to wait for it all to make sense, but in the end, it all will be worth it.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on June 3, 2015