Pretending that we, as Christians do not go through moments of intense crisis, or doubt, or confusion is not helpful for the Body of Christ. These moments of struggle may be destinations designed by God to bring us to new levels of faith, strength, and power in Him. If we do not share our struggle, we also fail to share our victory.
I am learning that there is power in an appropriate amount of transparency during our struggles. I emphasize the word appropriate.
There will be seasons when each new day presents a frightening new set of potential circumstances. But, in reality, each new day presents new opportunities for me to press closer to God, and as I press, He becomes greater and my self-centered focus becomes less – and certainly less attractive to me.
Life is full of trials and persecutions. Some of these seasons of difficulty seem to take us to the end of ourselves, threatening to overtake and overwhelm us beyond the unthinkable ‘cliff’. In these moments we cry out to God. We make deals, we plead, and we pray, all in an attempt to avoid or disengage from our struggle – and yet sometimes, the simple truth is that the struggle we are enduring is the will of God.
We wonder if God is listening, only to realize that the struggle is by design.
Consider Joseph, Daniel, Moses, David, Paul, and countless other men and women in Christ who have had to endure painful trials as part of the growing, molding, refining and building process. God’s ways are not our ways, and are certainly not in vain. It is through the process that we learn to trust Him. It is through the process that we learn to cling to Him, to love Him, and to lay everything we have at His feet. It is through the process that we come to the place where we can finally say with completely willing and submitted heart, “God, all I have is You. Everything I need is within You. All I require comes from You. If everything else passes away, You are all I need to remain. For You are my everything”.
Does this mean that I do not love my children? Of course not! My family? That is ridiculous. I know more than most how wonderful it is to be loved by a family as amazing as mine. And I love each of them more and more each day.
But, the love that I have for my children and my family is for nothing if I let go of God for one second. He enables me to love them. He teaches me how to love them with a Christ-like love that is higher and more complete than anything that I can offer of myself.
Yet, this type of love, formed within love, trust and devotion toward our Father, is often born out of great struggle. It is formed within circumstances where we find that the only One who can stand with us, is the Savior, himself.
When all other options have been exhausted, and God is our only hope –
When our weakness overwhelms us, and God is the only source of strength –
When we are bowed down in grief and fear, and God is the only one who can rescue –
That is when we truly begin to understand the sufficiency of His grace, or rather, the fact that his undeserved love and favor is enough.
When we come to the place where ‘God is enough’ we finally experience His power in our weakness:
to be content in our circumstance
to find peace throughout our pain
to experience joy in our sorrow
to comfort others in our affliction
to believe in what we can not see
to let go of those things that are not God’s will for our lives
and to die to ourselves so that He might live through us.
The situations that bring us to these places are usually very lonely, frightening, frustrating, and confusing. But be assured, we are not alone. We are resting in His grace.
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10