Often the deep questions of life keep me awake from the early hours of the morning till dawn breaks into a glorious day of sun. I’ve been awake since two this morning, maybe earlier. Usually before a big day for me I have a tendency to lay awake at night pondering the big questions in life. Wondering what is the purpose of this life?What is my purpose? Do I have a ministry to the world? Or am I going to be one of those people that just lives for myself?
This sleepless night I wonder whether Christian’s are allowed to struggle? And if so, are they allowed to be open and honest about their struggles? Or do we have to wear a mask and cover up our struggles and show that we are strong on the surface? When the reality is we are actually weak.
1 Corinthians 1.27 – But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
All over the bible – there are true stories of real struggles in life. Peter who doubted three times. David who committed adultery and murder. Widows. Widowers. The bereaved. The lonely. The lost. The confused.
Do we share our struggles openly? Honestly? Or do we hide them, cover them up? I guess for many of us it is easier to hide our struggles. Easier to deny that they are real. Easier to brush them away and focus on being busy. If we go on wearing a mask to the world pretending that everything is alright we are denying our true inner emotions. We are denying our feelings. In effect we are denying what God has done to help us in our lives. We are then portraying an image to the world that I have overcome my issues through my own strength. What resources do you use if you have overcome the issues with your own strength?
The other day I learned that if we push our feelings underground that sooner or later it will resurface and encompass our lives and perhaps when these unconstructive feelings come to the fore we struggle to deal with them effectively. We can only truly surrender our struggles when we want to be in a deep personal relationship with him. We then begin to understand that God can help us through the trials and tribulations of life. We begin to understand that God is with us not just when we need him but that he is there with us all the time. We begin to understand God’s love for us when we want to keep drinking from the well of living water.
The thing about struggles is its everywhere. There is no way of avoiding it. Skirting around it. It is part of life. Struggles. Trials. Tribulations. Suffering. But when we go through our own struggles we often feel ashamed. We often feel like we are failures because we can’t get through the struggles on our own without being dependent on someone, something. Where does your dependency lie? It is fine to depend on your own energy source, but realise something – that energy source that you are relying on to get through your struggles is actually God enabling you to face your struggles with courage.
When my son died just over four years ago – I didn’t know how I would get through that time. I ended up using the only weapons I knew how to use in the battle of deep suffering. I had to learn to pray. I had to learn to worship. I had to learn to be thankful to the Lord for my circumstances. I had to pray that he would teach me something from this struggle and that I could use this struggle at a later date to help some other poor person walking the same living hell as I did all those years ago. The one thing I learned though is to turn the struggle into a triumph. To turn the struggle around and say Lord use it for your benefit. Use me as a vessel. I learned to be open and honest about my feelings rather than wearing a mask of I am OK. Rather than hiding behind my mask of happiness. I learned not to be ashamed of my weakness. I learned to embrace my weakness which in turn allowed God to work through me to become the person I am now.
Are Christians allowed to struggle? Yes, I think Christians are allowed to struggle. I think everyone of us here faces struggles. Everywhere I turn I just see brokenness, confusion, loneliness, pain, bewilderment and I wonder how has the world come to such a dire place? How can this be fixed? The only answer I know is when we turn our eyes to the cross. Ultimately to when Jesus sacrificed his life for us so that we could have eternal life. Jesus died for our sufferings. He died for our sins. He died for our trials, tribulation, pain. He died so that we can live.
Who do you depend on when you are going through the trials and tribulations of life? Do you turn to God? Or do you hide your struggles in fear and shame of being made fun of? Of being judged? Where does your dependency lie? Does it lie at the foot of the cross? Do you surrender your struggles so that you can be whole by the grace of God? Are you ashamed of your struggles? Please don’t be. Struggles, suffering, trials and tribulations is a part of life. It is a simple fact of life since the very beginning of time: the Fall – when sin entered the world.
The more I learn about God’s grace and love, the more I want to draw near to him. The more I want to plug into him. Naturally, I have days where I want to do it my own way. But is my way the best way? Or is God’s way the better way? I want to serve God wholeheartedly and follow him because he has given me life. He has given me the gift of life. He has shown me that he loves me no matter what. I depend on God.
Who will you depend on? Where does your dependency lie?