I am, indeed, thankful for my struggle.
There were times during my struggle where I had a very difficult time saying these words. Too many times while in the midst of my trials I simply wanted to be delivered from the difficulty. Because of the suffering I was enduring at the time, it was too often difficult-to-the-point-of-nearly-impossible for me to truly have a heart of gratitude for the suffering, for the struggle. But that’s indeed the attitude that I ought to have had at all times, and though I strove for that perspective, I can’t say that I was always successful in living it out.
In moments of clarity, usually during times of prayer and contemplation, I did see very well that God had blessed me by disciplining me! But how painful that blessing can be!
Human pride would sometimes keep me from staring my self-made trouble straight in the face, my arrogance would keep me from admitting that my difficulties were a result of my own sin and disobedience. But it was in these very moments of self-pity and arrogance that God would bring it home to me with resounding clarity: things could have been much much worse, and no matter the suffering that I was feeling, God was using it for Good- He was making me a new creation.
But here’s the real kicker. I can be thankful for my struggle because the truth of the matter is that it took that much suffering, that much life destruction, that much pain, that many tears, for my heart to be softened, for my mind to be opened, for my rebellion to be quenched. You could say I’m a slow learner. I’ve always been hard-headed, and yes, stubborn. It took nothing short of having my life completely turned upside down to turn me around. God knew this. That’s why, out of love for me, He chose to protect me from myself. He chose to keep me from dying in my sins, He chose to discipline me. And in so doing, He saved me. He set me free. Free from the bondage of self-service.
Just as a parent disciplines a child and the child cries and suffers some pain of body or heart on account of the discipline, yet comes away from it a better person, and the family bond is stronger, so too, God disciplines those He loves. That means you. That means me.
I don’t know what difficulties you are currently facing. I don’t know how dark the pit is in which you find yourself; I don’t know how lonely it might all feel. But I do know that the suffering you are experiencing, the struggle of your life at this very moment is intended to turn you back to God. It’s intended, it has a meaning, a purpose, to bring you closer to your Maker.
Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart.
I’m thankful, genuinely, for the struggle in my life, for I would not be here right now, writing these words to you on this website if not for the amazing grace of God above that was shown to me through much suffering, pain, and difficulty. Much.
Lord hear our prayer.