What does it mean to struggle? According to Cambridge dictionary it means to experience difficulty and make a very great effort in order to do something. What does to suffer mean? Again according to the dictionary to suffer means to feel pain or something equally unpleasant. The root of suffer is the Latin word sufferre, to bear, undergo, or endure.
According to the bible to struggle, to suffer is a result of the Fall. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God sin entered this world. The result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience was pain, suffering and death for all humanity. After the Fall a wall of separation came between man and God. A type of alienation occurred which pained our heavenly Father. Our heavenly Father didn’t want to leave us in such a state of hostility that he gave us his son Jesus so that we may have eternal life.
To suffer means to live for God. To obey God. To trust God. To believe that God will provide for your every need even when you can’t see where your life is taking you. To suffer, to struggle means to live for God and not for this world but to be of this world. Through suffering we draw closer to the well of living water. We draw closer to God as we learn to depend more and more on him and not on our own strength. We learn to experience joy whatever the circumstance we are in. We learn to be at peace with every situation. We learn to thank God in every situation. We learn not to be anxious about our situation but to commit each way into God’s hand. To suffer for the glory of God means letting go of our own desires and letting God do what is ultimately best for us. Philippians 4.6 – do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
One of the most important things I have learned in the last five months of endless trials, endless tribulations is that God paves the way forward. God is in control even when it feels like your whole world is spiralling out of control at an incredible speed. I have had to learn to trust God and let him do his will for my life. When I quit that job in Dublin back in July I didn’t think that I would be going on a roller coaster ride and that I would find a job fairly quickly and that everything would fall into place quick. We all want a quick fix to life’s problems. But that isn’t always the answer. Sometimes God brings us through shifting sands so that he can turn the ashes into something beautiful. I feel like I am going through a refining process. I am trusting God every second, every minute of the day. Trusting and believing that he will provide for me.
And in the midst of all this God’s love shines as the brightness at the end of this tunnel of pain. He brings joy in my life, as I depend more and more on him to feed me whether it is spiritually, emotionally or physically. God has placed various people in my life to look after me.
At the start of the summer I made a decision of letting go of what was important to me and letting God take control. I let go so that God could lead me to everlasting joy, so that I could be a vessel for his kingdom. But it hasn’t been easy. It has been challenging. I chose to follow God over following the treasures of the modern world: money. I chose to trust God rather than to rely on my own resources. It isn’t an easy thing to do. It has been challenging. But in this journey I have learned that God will provide for me no matter what. I have learned that God will not abandon me no matter what the situation is and that he is watching over me.
But why is it then that some people suffer more than others? Why is it that some have more trials than others? I know that with each passing day my desire to follow God, to serve him deepens, and it pains me when I sin. It pains me when I do wrong. It pains me when I think negatively. It pains me when I feel like I don’t shine the love of God within me. In difficult times, in suffering times God is gain. God is not pain. God is gain. God is love.
Will you follow Jesus even when the going gets tough? Will you let go and let God in? Where is our treasures if life on earth is only but a fleeting race? Do we store all our treasures here on earth for short-term gain? Or do we start looking toward the goal ahead for long-term gain? Who do you want to follow?
Hebrews 11.26 – He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.