Today I came across a fellow Christian author chastising people for being real online and showcasing their struggles while they claimed to trust God. I am so glad Scripture didn’t follow this admonition! If Scripture was put to screen as is where is, it would be R-rated in how deep the struggle went for various people through the books of the Old Testament and on into the New.
We see Job’s wife telling him to curse God and die. We see Joseph in prison for a while before he’s called before Pharoah to interpret a dream. We see King David being so bold about his struggles that if he were to post a stanza from any number of Psalms one per day, he’d get chastised by this fellow author and others for being faithless or fragile. But when we keep reading his words, we discover with him that God is in his circumstances and can lift him above them. But there’s the key, we keep reading. We don’t cut David off in the middle of his rant, lament, depression or suffering. We wait patiently until we reach the portion of each Psalm when he begins to see God’s presence, hand, and redemption. This man who was called a “Man after God’s Heart”, was quite raw and would not be accepted online today by people who perpetuate the thought that we must always show the world a life lived in victory.
Sometimes like David’s Psalms, we can see the beginning, middle and end of the struggle in a single Psalm. But other times, we see Noah who had to endure ridicule and derision for 100 years before the promise God gave him would be physically seen by others. To my knowledge, no one since then has had to wait that long or struggle through for that long before they finally saw God’s promise come to pass and put all their hecklers to shame. No, in today’s world, struggles may last for hours, days, weeks, months, even years. But as the idea has been expressed before, the learning and growing are in the struggle, the rejoicing is on the mountain top while the growth is in valley. It is on the road of life that we struggle and grow.
The unsaved world has a very unrealistic expectation of Christianity. If you are truly saved you will never sin, never slip up, never get mad, never lose your cool, never struggle, always be healthy and wealthy, never lack anything, and the list goes on. We do the world no favours by agreeing to perpetrate such nonsense!
As we approach Christmas, we must remember that Christ chose to join us in our mess. He chose to join us in our struggle. He experienced sorrow, mourning, anger, frustration, love, loss, betrayal, homelessness, etc. The book of Hebrews tells us that because He joined us in our struggle, He is qualified to be our High Priest because He has gone through it all with us.
Let us not forget that Christ is Emmanuel, God with us! God in the good times, God in the bad times, God in the euphoria and God in the struggle.