accepting struggle

Yet man is born to trouble
    as surely as sparks fly upward.

Eliphaz’s words here in Job are echoed by the suffering Job himself later. And Jesus, after some telling teaching on the idolatry of materialism and money along with the need to trust the Father for provision as one seeks the kingdom and that righteousness that goes with it closes that part with these words:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Some of us seem to struggle more than others. Surely a number of factors are involved in that. And perhaps we can outgrow some kinds of struggles, unless they might simply take on a different form as we continue to mature in Christ. But trouble is the lot of everyone in this life. There is no such thing as a trouble free existence.

This can be due to sin. A large part of it is due to the fact that this world is neither complete or perfect. We can say because of the fall of humankind into sin, but I believe this world was made with the world to come in mind. New creation in and through Christ when heaven and earth become one is the culmination and goal. At the beginning of this old creation, chaos and disorder ruled the day. In creation that began to dissipate significantly, though it is still present in the whole. Someday when the new creation completely takes over through the resurrection of all things in and through Christ, that chaos and the trouble that comes with it will be gone.

Of course some of the struggle, and surely sometimes much of it is simply due to our own lack. We don’t trust God as we should. Or perhaps there is some deficiency in our character due to sin which needs to be changed. We need the light of the convicting work of the Spirit to lead us to confession and repentance and forgiveness of our sins in and through Jesus.

One of the most important things we can do is simply to accept the struggle. Not try to escape it, but look to God for God’s deliverance. Ordinarily such deliverance will come only as we work through it. Usually deliverance is not out of trouble, but through the trouble. Remember Jacob’s wrestling with the angel, even with God himself.

We need to learn not to panic, and even to learn a form of rest during such times. Even as we cry out to God at the same time in complaint and lament as in the psalms. Not giving up, but pressing on, confident of God’s deliverance.