Friday, September 10

Useful Struggles

Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.--Daniel 11:35

Sometimes almost everything seems to go wrong. Some days the traffic is bad enough to make you late for work, the printer goes on the fritz, the crockpot isn't plugged in, and your favorite shirt shrinks in the wash. Other times we must deal with serious health issues, the loss of a friend, or wrestle with our convictions. Part of being human means that we must inevitably face periods of difficulty in our lives. It is encouraging to me to realize that God is always teaching us, even in the trying times.

When God allows some things to be taken away from us, he may be doing so to remind us that we need to trust him more completely, or maybe trust him for different things. When life causes us to stumble, getting back up can be difficult. Even then, God is still there to hold us and help us take another step. I am reminded of a phrase in a DC Talk song that asks "What if I stumble? What if I fall? What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all? Will the love continue when the walk becomes a crawl?"

According to today's verse, the love does continue when the walk becomes a crawl. When life brings us to our knees, God uses that as an opportunity to show us things from a new perspective. He will refine us and purify us. He can take away the things that are causing us to stumble, but only when we ask him to. From our humble position on our knees, we need to look up to God through prayer and ask him to help us identify the source of our problem, and then show us what we must do from there. It is then that we are given a fresh start in following Him.

No matter how many times we may have come to him with our struggles, he will continue to purify us to the end. (see also 1st Corinthians 1:8) No one likes to have a bad day in any form. We are quick to lose heart when bad days include heavy emotional or spiritual struggle. If we understand that God can use those times to teach us, we are more likely to persevere in the face of difficulty.

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