You know… in reading some of my blogs, it sure sounds like a lot of work in coming to know God. I’m sure some people may even think, “Why do it at all?” And you know what… I confess there have been times that I’ve thought the same thing. Because I’ve personally experienced smooth sailing when I floated atop the surface of God’s living waters. And I swear, I don’t think I have ever struggled throughout my whole life as much as I have within these past few years. It’s as if the struggling intensified as soon as I decided to go deeper with God. Oh, I had plenty of dark times before my God & me moment of 2010. It was desperation that drove me to Him in the first place. But it seems as if the hard times have come closer and closer together, lengthening in duration, ever since then. Almost like labor pains.
For me, I drifted for quite some time after becoming a child of God. My husband and I moved around quite a bit because of his job. At first, it was great… but then we moved somewhere I really hated. I was thoroughly miserable while we lived up North, but for some reason, I didn’t turn to God. We moved several times more before I finally surrendered, but by then I had accumulated some excess baggage in my heart. That’s what I’m working on now… getting rid of my old junk. I thought I accomplished that this past fall, but deep down, I know something is still not right. Anyway, I’m veering off course. The question remains, “Why do it at all?” Quite simply, I am persuaded. See, when I became God’s child sixteen years ago, I committed my heart to Him. And 2 Timothy 1:12 says it beautifully, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”
Clearly, there will be suffering. But, I will not be ashamed! For I am persuaded that He is able to keep (guard) what I committed to Him, which was my heart. Not only that, I now have a track record with God. I mentioned all the starts and stops with God earlier this week. All those beginnings and endings. Well you know, I may have had some bad endings… but through each bad ending, I learned something about myself. Each time I started out, for God, and ended badly, for me, I realized something about me that shouldn’t be a part of me at all! And when we come to a realization like that, well, that’s called victory. Because when we can identify what’s wrong with us, we can confront it. And through the power of God, we can defeat it. And do you know what else? On the other side of those struggles lies glory. I know it, because I’ve experienced it. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory…” This, my friend, is the purpose of our struggles. Through each one, we are being transformed into the image of Christ. It’s through struggle after struggle that we reach glory to glory.
I imagine there is no one else who’s struggled with God quite like Jacob. He physically wrestled with God. In Genesis 32 we read, “Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks,” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” Jacob held on to God. He refused to let go until he received the blessing. God then renamed Jacob, saying, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Why do it at all? Why continue to venture closer and closer to God, when all it seems to do is cause more and more strife? Because I am fully persuaded. Because on the other side of each struggle is glory. And because when I hold on to God, refusing to let go, there will be blessing. I will struggle again and again, but each time I come out on the other side, I am that much closer to God. With each hardship I face, I will be one step closer to knowing Him. And knowing Him is exactly what I purposed in my heart two and a half years ago. There was a verse that propelled me towards God, but it was only the first half of Philippians 3:10 that I focused on. I now know the verse is talking about God’s Son. And it’s only now that I can begin to identify with the second half of the verse… that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…
Here on earth, we will suffer and we will struggle. Jesus did, and so shall we. But rather than run from our struggles, and from God, may we be like Jacob who clung tightly to God. May we tell Him that we will not let go… not until He blesses us. Like Jacob, may we struggle with God and with men, and prevail. And then, it will come… blessing. There will be that glorious Day, for He’s promised it. That’s why I do it.