The Struggle of Faith and Hope
Many years ago Brent Curtis, (friend, counselor, author of The Sacred Romance) told me that sometimes we are not motivated to seek help, healing, rescue or change despite the pain we are in until we realize the pain it’s causing others.
Sometimes the unhealthy, dark, depressed, isolated or resigned place that we occasionally find ourselves in can feel “at home,” familiar, deserved, comfortable.
We can settle into this place with thoughts like:
- This is just the way it is; it’s never going to change.
- I’m tired of trying to figure out what is true, how things are supposed to work and how I’m supposed to live – I’m just going with what life hands me.
- It’s not working for me; either something is wrong with what I’ve believed or something is wrong with me – I’m not really trying any more.
- I’m tired of the struggle – I give up.
I’m not so much talking about reoccurring sin as much as the struggle of faith and hope.
You and I know the weight and struggle of life: good and evil, right and wrong, the ways of the world and the Kingdom of God, spiritual warfare, pushing against the fall. The first great-commission implies this when God told us that we are to rule, subdue and bring to fruitfulness the things in our garden. (Gen. 1:28)
- Rule: To make decisions about the development and destiny of a thing.
- Subdue: To sustain an influential guidance by diligent maintenance.
- Fruitfulness: To create value by multiplying, filling, expanding and developing God’s creation in every area of life.
We just get worn down over time. It’s the ongoing, unrelenting nature of this life with its complexities, confusion, battles and trauma.
In essence, it’s Combat Stress Reaction. CSR’s most common symptoms are fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one’s surroundings, and inability to prioritize. It is generally short-term, unlike PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
In non-warfare terms, it’s life-fatigue. In the language of scripture, it’s losing heart.
This is why Jesus gives His standing-invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28) This is not a one time hall-pass (for salvation) and then after that, if you get weary, it’s off to the principal’s office to be punished for this unacceptable behavior. Jesus’ invitation to receive rest from Him is always there for you and me.
It’s quite easy to be at this point of depression, resignation, darkness, isolation and not fight our way out. “After all,” you say, “it’s my problem, it’s just the way it is and who cares anyway.” That’s the point – it’s not just your problem, it’s not the way it has to be and it matters to others that you get out of it for their sake.
We must remember that there are things that are TRUE and then there is TRUTH. It may be true that:
- Your finances are going in the wrong direction
- Your marriage is not going well
- You dislike your work
- You’re not passionate about anything, including spiritual things
- You’re living in a reoccurring sin
- You’re physically not doing well
All and any of these (sub) realities are enough to deliver us to a dark place.
But then there is truth, which supersedes what is true.
- I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Phil. 1:6)
- I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Psalm 32:8)
- Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22)
- Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
- He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. (Isa. 40:29)
What you are going through, so are many others. They will need your hope and experience. So, fight through and take note how God brought you back to Life.
God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Cor. 1:4)
You see, the place of depression, resignation, darkness, isolation that you sometimes get in is not just your problem, it’s not the way it has to be and it matters to others that you get out it for your sake and theirs.
We are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16)
You are invaluable. You bring something to the body of Christ, to His Kingdom that is needed and when you are “working properly” Christ’s body strengthens and increases.
We cannot afford for you to be “out of the game.”