I love God’s sense of humor, His sense of timing and His complete and perfect ability to have things fall into place at the exact right moment for everything to begin to make sense (at least for a few brief moments of clarity, before the wind of the day changes and things become confusing again).
I thought about the hidden meaning in the title of the chapter.
My struggles are about him (my son) or Him our Heavenly Father.
As I could not seem to stop thinking about the nature of suffering, this was a huge indicator that God was leading me in the direction to take a deeper look at it in relation to myself.
Don’t-cha just hate it when that happens.
A very dear friend and me were having our near daily conversations, she and I are in very similar boats with regards to living with rebellion.
She made a comment to me that has been stuck in my thoughts since I hung up the phone with her.
She said and I quote “There are different levels of surrender.”
You see we talk about this all the time. We talk about getting to a point with our boys where we can completely give them over to God and let Him deal with their rebellion. I know that there is very little that I can physically say or do (really nothing at all) that will bring about a change in my son’s attitude or behavior.
This has been a huge source of frustration for me for over a decade. However there are times when I am able to surrender whatever angst or turmoil to God and this peace that surpasses understanding (PHP 4:7) will rest in my heart. It is an amazing feeling and I yearn for those times to be more frequent and to last for a very long time.
The truth is that it is a very delicate balancing act, I fail more times than I succeed. The failures come when the moment I am able to release my son or the angst and then I reach out and snatch it right back. I grasp hold of the trouble and hang on to it close and that holding on is what brings (in part) the suffering back into my life.
Now a very big part of my suffering is caused by the very real actions and behaviors of my son. I can not control what my son does. It has been three days since I have spoken to or laid eyes on him. I do not know if he is eating, what he is doing or where he is. Now granted three days is really not that long. I realize this. However, it is for me another rung in that ladder of surrender. I am recognizing that I have to find some way to release the fears and the worry about where he is and what he is doing so that I can again turn this situation and my son over to God.
I also began to think about the other possible indicator that Mr. Lucado suggest may point to being selected to struggle for Christ.
Do your prayers seem to be unanswered?
What you request and what you receive aren’t matching up?
You see I know that God hears my prayers (1PE 3:12). I know that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective (JAS 5:16). I know that all I have to do is ask (1JN 5:14). I have been praying for my son for over a decade (it feels like forever), and in all that time there has been very little change in him. What I was and still am requesting is not what I have received, yet! Things are not matching up!
However, what has happened was an unexpected bonus. There has been a huge change in me. My faith has grown and the level of trust I have in the Lord has deepened to a place that I did not think was possible. But God’s great and mighty words tells me that nothing is impossible for God (MT 17:20). I also have to recognize that I do not know the mind of God (ISA 55:8). I can only seek to discern His will for my life.
But here is the ringer. I can not discern the will of God for my son’s life. I can not know what God wants for my son’s life. I do not know what great and wonderful things God has in store for him. Only God knows that.
As his mother I know what I want for him and his life. As his mother I know that I want his safety, I want him to be happy and I want for him to be healthy. I also know that those are only earthly matters, what God wants is much more important. What God wants for my son are blessing that I can not even imagine.
God wants those unimaginable blessing for all the people who call on Him, who repent, who confess, seek forgiveness and surrender to His will in there lives.
Struggles are like a damn across a river. If that damn is maintained properly then everything will be fine. However if there are violent storms and the water starts beating against the sides of the dam the soil will begin to wash away. Without proper maintenance without the continual process of reapplying and filling in the eroding sections of soil the integrity of the dam will eventually give way and the raging river will break through. We all have images of the chaos brought on by the failed levees in New Orleans in our memory banks.
Life with any kind of continuing struggle is like this I think. There are times when I am very strong and well maintained. My damn is strengthened when I am in Gods word daily and I am girded and strengthened on all sides with prayer and support from those that I love.
However there are my weak times, when the rebellion seems to overwhelming and I grow weary. There are times when the unexpected happens and you think that it can’t get any worse and then it does (get worse).
There are times when I want to give up and let the damn give way and wash over my life. I also have to confess that there are times when I want to stand at the base of the damn and kick a hole in the side and scream that I am tired of the perpetual maintenance. I want to rest. I want the struggle to be over.
When I am kicking and screaming, those times are opportunities for me to grab onto the ladder (once I have stopped pitching my hissy-fit that is) of surrender and climb a bit higher. With each rung I come closer to the place where God’s greatest blessing are.
Here is a question:
Would those great blessing come without the struggles?
Would I trade the struggles for a life without the blessings?