The Gift of Struggle

I don’t like to struggle.  I don’t like to see my child, my husband, or my friends struggle. I like life to be easy.

I want all my friends to love me all the time, my husband to agree with my every decision, and God to answer every prayer with a checkmark.

But deep down I know a carefree life will never produce a courageous person who trusts in God with all her heart. That’s why Jesus allowed His disciples to struggle—and still does today.

One night Jesus was praying on a mountain while His disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. He looked down and saw the disciples straining with the oars, struggling with the wind, and bailing water over the edge. But He wasn’t worried. Jesus calmly walked on the water and got into the boat, and immediately they were on the other side (Matthew 14:22–34, John 6:16).

Jesus could have simply spoken to the wind and waves from the mountaintop. But He allowed the disciples to struggle. More important than relieving their straining was strengthening their faith. They needed to know who He was, not just what He could do. If He had stopped the storm before the struggle, they might never have known that He was the One who controls it all.

James wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2–4). Mature. Complete. Not lacking anything.

We’ll all struggle in some form or fashion. No one is immune to suffering. But rather than viewing pain as a burden to bear, what if we considered it a gift for growing? What if we saw every trial as training? When we see our children, grandchildren, spouse or friends struggling, rather than trying to fix their problems, what if we prayed that God would use the difficult circumstance to make them stronger, wiser, and more mature in Christ?

I love how the story of the storm concludes with the disciples saying, “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33). That’s the hope of every struggle—the conclusion that clears up every doubt.

Father, Thank You for the struggles that make me stronger, wiser, kinder. Help me see trouble as training. I pray the Holy Spirit will help me know when to step in to help others with a struggle and when to step back to allow them to work it out on their own. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Paul wrote: “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3–4 Leave a comment and share one struggle that made you stronger.

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