The Struggle is Real

A blogpost about the struggle of life and blogging

Blogging is hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I know those mommy bloggers make it look easy with their daily tear-jerking posts about snotty noses and late night snuggles, but don’t be fooled…the struggle is real. I have been working on this blog post for two and a half weeks in two different countries. I have come up with more excuses for not writing than I have for ideas to write about (between Ecuador, the time change, and the flu epidemic in our home I have found plenty of excuses). Ideas are in short supply so one day I may find myself writing a mommy blog (awkward I know) or reviewing movies that I cannot afford to go and see (you can tell a lot from the trailers). But the struggle of writing has led me to think about the struggles of life (that’s a quick transition, I know). Why do we struggle so, and is it worth it after all?

I am not a quitter. I learned early in life that it is important to finish what I start. Perhaps that is why I am approaching 40 and I am still a full-time student; because I feel like I haven’t finished yet. The thing is, that no matter what I have begun in my life, finishing has involved struggle. From dealing with daddy ball as a little leaguer, to the heart wrenching trials of puberty and hormones in high school, to college apathy, to marriage and parenting, to attempting to put together a 2.5 million piece playset for my kids in the backyard. Everything I have ever begun has involved struggle at some point. And yet these struggles are trivial compared to the day-to-day struggles that characterize many people's lives.

In Ecuador we met people who struggle to eat. They live in thrown together homes on majestic hillsides marred by poverty and strife. And yet these people engage the struggle of life with smiles on their faces and hope in their hearts. Most of these people, despite their desperate need, have learned to struggle well. They have forsaken the trivial, human centered meaning of Philippians 4:13, and have gained the secret to contentment that Paul describes in Philippians 4:12. I learned many things on my most recent trip to Ecuador, but two things stand out. One is that our primary struggle is not physical but spiritual. The most impoverished person in the world still feels the joy of salvation that is found in Jesus. Second, people who know how to struggle well can be used mightily for God.

Maybe you wonder why your life has had so much difficulty. Maybe you tend, like me, to throw pity parties and imagine a more carefree lifestyle. Perhaps instead, we ought to embrace life’s struggles because of the way God works in us through them.  Maybe if we learn to struggle well through sickness and trial we might be able to more effectively engage in the eternal struggle against spiritual powers and principalities. I am convinced that our earthly struggles are mere reflections of the actual spiritual struggle that all creation is engaged in. I am also convinced that perseverance is the mark of the redeemed. Believers persevere in this spiritual struggle, not because of natural ability or training, but because Jesus has struggled for us and has won. Therefore, do not lose heart, but run with endurance the race that he has marked out for you.

Jesus said, “I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Comments (2)

  • Sheila


    17 March 2016 at 14:35 | #

    Thank you Ryan for once again making it real - appreciate you - love you❤️!


  • Paula Nordt

    Paula Nordt

    18 March 2016 at 18:04 | #

    It has been a trying week for us and I feel like your words were meant for my heart! I love that and appreciate how much you share the meaning of God's word in a marvelous way! Praying for you and yours. I know you are not much on cliches, but I love this one: Choose Joy! It is a joy to hear and read words from your heart! Thank you, Pastor Ryan! Love ya!


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