S04E084, Andy B 2 Minute Video, Good Struggles
Life can be full of struggles. Some can be good – like the effort needed to build muscle in a gym. The struggle feels good, because we can – possibly slowly – see a positive difference to our bodies. Some struggles can be bad – like grieving a loved one when we’re not ready to say goodbye to them, or having to live with life changing injuries from an accident that was not our fault.
In her book, Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom wonderfully illustrates how things that can at first appear truly awful, can be God’s blessings - which is why her sister was praising God for the fleas that attacked them where they slept in the middle of a concentration camp during World War II. If you want to know why that was such a blessing to them, you’ll need to read the book!
In life we often face challenges; hurdles; struggles; obstacles. We see them as things in our way, or as things to get around. We all too easily blame God for not doing a good enough of protecting us.
God never suggests that we’ll have an easier life when we become Christians. Actually, the bible is replete with examples why this just isn’t so!
When life throws us challenges we can either blame God for not protecting us enough, or we can trust that He truly does see all, and that we’ll be able to rejoice because of those fleas like Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsy Ten Boom!
God sees so much better than we do, and that delay to our morning commute might easily be something that protected us from something far worse. The point is that we don’t know, because we can’t read the future. But, God can, does and already knows the struggles we’ll face every day of our lives.
In Isaiah 43 we see God’s loving words that whatever we face, He will walk alongside us as we journey through them, not around them - in my book Broken Dreams, and Hope! I explore this specific topic much more in depth.
God loves is and nothing is ever wasted, even fleas.
Just a thought…
So another Andy B 2 Minute Video, and I was thinking about good struggles.
If you've ever read the book by Corrie Ten Boom, Hiding Place, it's an amazing book. And it speaks lots of good struggles. Now the struggles that Corrie Ten Boom, and her sister, Betsy, went through, and her father, and a sister in law, and her brother, they weren't good. But those struggles were good ultimately.
It wasn't good that they were tortured. It wasn't good, that they were sent to prison. It wasn't good that they were abused in some terrible ways. None of that was good! That's all heinous, and terrible! But those struggles were good, in the sense that what God did through those struggles, is prepare, particularly Corrie Ten Boom for some amazing ministry later on. And that laid out what she would then do in her service of God. So, although what happened wasn't good, I'm calling it Good Struggles, because so often in our life things come along that are bad, that are difficult, that are hard and they're not all bad. Yes, the suffering is always going to be bad. The evil is always going to be bad. You can't make good from evil. But God can redeem what was bad and what was evil. And God redeemed the suffering of Corrie Ten Boom, to provide healing, and love, and hope, to so many people. So the struggles that she went through whilst terrible, they were good struggles because it made Corrie Ten Boom, more like Jesus. And that's me paraphrasing her words.
But in our own lives, we have the same things don't we. We have situations where we're struggling. This, this life is difficult, and hard. But we either blame God and say 'You've failed because here we are with struggles'. Or perhaps we blame God because He didn't prevent those struggles from coming. But what we could be doing is saying, 'Okay, God, this is really hard, but please, would you help me walk through this'?
Isaiah 43, if you read past the first couple of verses you see,' when the waters are flooding, you'll be with me' and 'when the fires are raging, then you'll be with me as I walk through those'. God doesn't always steer us around the problems, but He wants to walk through them with us, holding our hand, dragging us along sometimes, but walking by with us, walking alongside with us.
If you've got struggles in your life, maybe there are things that need to change. I mean, not all that's bad needs to be okay. Some things we can do some stuff about, but if there's things we can't affect, then actually God can still make that into a good struggle. Because it's for our good. Not that the evil is right. That's never going to be okay! But that struggle can be a good opportunity for God to help us depend upon Him more. And that's exactly what you read in Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom. All the terrible stuff that's going on, God uses to make Corrie Ten Boom more prepared for heaven, as she so famously said.
So where is God asking you not to just try and ignore the struggles, but to accept you can't do anything about it and, through that acceptance, lean more on to Jesus and say, 'Okay, Jesus, would you help me through this? And He will!
Just a thought.
Written by Andy B