Life Ain’t Easy
Very often we can find ourselves looking around at our brothers and sisters and think, “Wow, they make being a Christian look so easy!” We can think that they have everything all squared away in their life, and that the life of a Christian is really supposed to be one big happy peaceful life without worry. We can easily fall into this trap of looking at our own life and thinking that our life is so much more difficult than theirs because of what we must struggle with. “If I had what they had, life would be easier.” Whether the struggles are physical or spiritual, we tend to think our burdens are heavier than others. Is there a breaking point?
Our struggles and sufferings are not unique. Brothers and Sisters around the world struggle with similar things, as do you and I. God is able to establish and strengthen us, if we let Him. “8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:8-10.
Satan is crafty, in the way he can cause each of us to have little discussions in our minds that result in doubt and fears. It is easy for us to find ourselves so focused on how hard we might have it, rather than focusing on whether or not we are going allow ourselves to be beaten by it! We are told in First Corinthians 10:13, that any temptation we encounter in our lives can be overcome because of God’s faithfulness to us.
I remember back to the time when I had all my sins washed away, and I genuinely thought that life would become easier because, “I am finally saved, and eternal life awaits me.” Trouble and sorrow had vanished away! Looking back on that moment, I seriously believed that I had an understanding of what was required in the life of a Christian. I was wrong! As life moved onward for me, I ran into struggles which I had never encountered before, and my walk suffered. At some point, I found myself thinking that my struggles were somehow unique, and that the life of a Christian is not at all like I thought it would be. Choices were made that had lasting effects which continue still “to be a thorn in my flesh.” I eventually came to a point of understanding what Paul was getting at in his second letter to the Corinthians.
“7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, after explaining his visions and revelations, that this “thorn in the flesh” which had been given to him by Satan was not going to hinder him because of the conclusion he reached.
God told him that His grace is sufficient for him, and that this weakness can be used to strengthen him! This gives us an understanding of God's perspective concerning our struggles. Sometimes God can use a struggle of ours to serve a purpose, only if we are willing to remain near to Him. We know that Paul had plenty of struggles along his journeys, yet God was able to really utilize Paul’s tenacity in spreading the Gospel. The existence of struggles, or suffering in our life, can result in one of two paths: a faith that vanishes away, or a faith that is strengthened.
Paul pleaded with the Lord on three separate occasions to remove the thorn, yet God's grace was enough for Paul, and His power was made perfect in his weaknesses. The same can be true for us. When we recognize our own weaknesses and the strength of God, we then become stronger in our relationship with Him. We don’t have to be afraid, that we are weak and insufficient in and of ourselves. We can rely upon the strength of God to get us through anything in life.
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~Philippians 4:11-13.
- John Wells