Author Sam Keen, in his book called Apology for Wonder, tells us the lesson he learned as a young boy swimming in the Indian River inlet on the Delaware coast. Keen says that swimming there was very tricky because the outgoing waters from the bay met the incoming tide waves from the ocean, and so the currents were very irregular and there were often very strong movements of the water. This made it very dangerous to swim there. He learned, however, that if he just relaxed and yielded to the outgoing currents and let them carry him well out into the sea, then he could swim across the current and find a calmer place below the inlet to swim back to shore.
The lesson is, says Sam Keen, “When swimming in turbulent waters, wisdom lies in knowing when to relax and when to struggle.”
Struggling in one form or another is a part of every human life. From being unable to tie your shoe to being unable to pay your bills to being unable to breath without a ventilator, struggle affects us all.
In fact, God tells us in His Word that struggle is present because of the brokenness of our world due to sin. In 1 Peter 5:10 God reminds us, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
Notice, He is not saying “if” struggles come, he says “After you have suffered a little while.” In this way He is saying that struggles will come and that we will have to suffer because of them. Praise be to God, He then tells us the rest of the story. He says that after our struggles, the faithful will witness, “The God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, (who) will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
Struggles are never the end of the story for the faithful. God has a greater path for us ahead. Even in our most dire moments, we can be assured that they will one day pass and that the glory of Christ will bring us into completion. Our call then is to know when to relax and when to struggle.
Struggle in and of itself is not a bad thing because it can bring about endurance which in turn leads to hope (Romans 5:3-5). Struggle is even necessary sometimes because through our struggle we learn valuable lessons, that is, if we let them teach us.
Too often, however, we choose only to complain and miss the valuable lessons held within. We want free this and free that because it’s easier than working for it. We rebel in violence if things don’t go the way we think they should, causing undo struggle to others who may not have had anything to do with the problem.. We become dissatisfied because we only see the ugliness and we miss the blessings. More often than not, this only produces more struggle that is un-needed and unnecessary.
God wants to be the one you go to in your struggles. He tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”. He reminds us again in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
We all face struggles, what separates the faithful is in how we handle it. Will we fight it or will we learn from it? Will we resist it or will we allow it to bring us to hope? Trust in God to lead you from your struggles all the way to glory. Let Him restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you as one saved by grace. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for being there to restore us from every struggle. Encourage us through your Holy Spirit not to let struggles destroy us but give us strength to endure our sufferings so they may bring us to hope. Amen.