When we struggle

The more I read the Bible, the more I’m struck by how often it talks about endurance.

The longer I live, the more I realize how badly we need it.

Life is hard. If it isn’t right now, it will be soon enough. I don’t think that’s overly pessimistic; it’s confirmed almost every day as I hear about things people are facing.

A friend finds out he has cancer. A Christian discovers her husband is cheating. Another faces debilitating depression, a difficult child, or a strained marriage.

Sometimes we struggle because of our bad choices; sometimes it’s because of the decisions others have made. Sometimes it’s impossible to see any kind of cause-and-effect relationship. It just happens, with no apparent explanation.

On his blog, a fellow believer wrote matter-of-factly about the way-too-early death of a young wife and mother: “This just stinks. Stinks bad.”

I couldn’t agree more, and I believe the Bible reflects a keen awareness of that.

James wrote, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

It’s interesting to me that the Bible typically shies away from offering an easier life if we follow Jesus. In fact, it often warns of the opposite.

But it also promises something incredible for those who stick it out.

Some of you are facing difficult trials, and you might even be tempted occasionally to quit.

It’s okay to be tempted—it’s part of our humanness—but don’t give in.

The message from James and Paul and Job and especially Jesus is clear.

God’s got a special crown for all of his children who, though they might not have accomplished anything the world calls extraordinary, remained steadfast when life got hard.

It’ll stink sometimes, but the crown of life God has promised will be worth it all.

Just stick it out.—Chuck


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