i’ve had conversations lately with several precious people who are really struggling. and even though life is difficult, their struggle is not external, it’s internal. “i’m praying and reading my bible,” they complain, “why can’t i overcome this particular issue? why do i feel so miserable?” the most comforting thing i can say is, “i know exactly how you feel.”
paul described this dilemma in his letter to the galatians, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” as long as we’re alive on this earth–and striving to become christlike–life will be a grind.
here’s a sobering thought: what if it’s supposed to be that way? what if the struggle is normal, even ordained?
scripture says that god “…set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” we are designed with a compulsive yearning for heaven. we could literally have everything in the world and we would not be fulfilled. temporal things, no matter how spectacular, are incapable of satisfying the deepest desire of humanity.
in his book “the progress paradox,” gregg easterbrook writes…
Most Americans enjoy a higher standard of living than 99.4 percent of the 80 billion human beings who’ve ever lived. Yet we’re not content. Our lives are characterized by too much of a good thing and that’s precisely the problem, excess at every turn.
we are driven to distraction. we cannot conceive of life without our electronic connections. and even with all these modern conveniences, we sleep three hours a day less than our grandparents. we keep thinking that the next deal, the next promotion, the next conquest will make us feel better.
not gonna’ happen. you might as well relax and enjoy the struggle.