I'm not sorry you're struggling
“I’m sorry, that sounds awful! I’ll pray for you” should no longer be our answer when someone tells us they’re going through something tough. From experience, I felt more loved and cared for when someone would take interest instead of sympathy, asking instead of apologizing.
“Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds” James 1:2-4
It doesn’t seem natural to consider something pure joy when something tough comes your way.
Most of the time I have to try and not crawl in a hole when circumstances arise but we’re called to face it dead on.
Let me break a lie that you’ve probably believed in your Christian career, or from watching others: when you meet Jesus and walk with Him things don’t get easier. We’re actually promised struggle.
The road to redemption is paved with opposition. Here’s why:
Spiritual warfare is real. When you’re facing opposition, many times it’s because you’re moving in the right direction. We are constantly in war with the enemy. We are constantly having to fight for what we believe and to hold onto Truth in times of pain and struggle. Satan only attacks those that he sees worth attacking. In sports, defense only goes for the people approaching the goal, they don’t tackle the people on the bench. So if you’re being attacked it’s because you’re making progress in the Kingdom.
Consider that with pure joy!
No, I’m not saying that God necessarily is eager for you to struggle but he’s excited when you grow. There’s no growth without growing pains. There’s no birth of life without contractions. You can’t become more flexible without stretching.
So, I’m not sorry you’re struggling. I’m excited for you and all that’s in store when you’re in the midst of a trial. This is a grand opportunity for you to grow and become more resilient.
Romans 8:28 is a promise. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Everything works for good even when it’s meant for evil.
When gold miners find gold, they’re covered in dirt and grime and absolutely have potential but no jewelry store would ever buy + sell that gold without it being first refined. The only way to refine gold is to put it through the fire. You are worth more than gold and you also must be refined to shred away all of the shame, fear, doubt or anything that hinders you from growing so that one day you might move mountains and sometimes that means getting put in "fire."
“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:7
Not only were we promised that we’d be refined through the fire if we really mean what we say when we proclaim being a believer but we’re also promised that at the end it will result in “praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
So hold firm, stand tall. Put on your armor and get ready to fight because it’s not a matter of “if” the battle is coming, it’s “when.” But, he is faithful to the end.
I'm not sorry you're struggling; however, I'm excited to announce that whatever the circumstance, with Jesus, you're already victorious.
[Scratching your head? Want more? For continued inspiration on this topic watch Francis Chan's Convocation Speech at Liberty University]