“The struggle is real,” is our snide mantra over laughable “struggles” like not having coffee in the morning.
But real struggles do exist.
Depression turns just getting out of bed into a war. The struggle for parents to love, guide, discipline, and direct children who want their own way. The battle to overcome addiction. Physical pain that debilitates. Watching a loved one finish their time on this earth. Loving well a person with dementia whose personality and memory is slowly fading away. Longing to do well so that your business succeeds for God’s glory. Working and praying hard to keep a ministry going. Doing what is right when it seems every corner you turn someone or something is against you.
Struggles are real. So how can we live fulfilled when right now is a battle?
The new. Every minute of every day God is doing something new. We just need eyes to see it, ears to hear it, and hearts and minds to perceive it.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19 ESV
The struggle we are experiencing now is not always going to be. God is doing something. He is using this struggle to mold and shape us, to guide and direct us. He is doing something new in the midst of the battle. To live fully in the battle, we have to look for the new thing God is doing. Look for His presence, guidance, peace, wisdom, and grace.
The not yet. God promises that one day all of these battles will be won. They will be finished and we will be at peace.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:4-5 ESV
There is a time coming when God will be living fully in our midst. Our sin will be gone and victory will be ours through Christ. This is our hope in the not yet. We are victors, but our victory is not yet complete. We can rest knowing our current uncertain battles have a certain end, victory in Jesus.
The Gone. Some battles end and their effects still linger. They haunt our current struggles as we carry around labels like failure, unwanted, unloved. But God never intended us to carry those labels. Learn from our past, yes. Grow from our losses, certainly. But never be defined by them. Instead He wants us to forget so we can stretch forward.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
To live fulfilled in the midst of struggles we must forget the labels of the past and press forward through the struggles of today. We must let the past be gone and let God, our creator, fill us with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He will fill us, we just have to trust expectantly in Him.
What do you need to do to live fully today, look for the new, remember the net yet, forget the gone?
May the God of all glory, grace, and peace fill us with His Spirit so we can live fully now.
Father give us eyes to continually look for the new thing You are doing. Remind us that we have a hope not only for this earth, but for eternity. May we forget what lies behind so we can strain toward what You have in store for us. Father fill us with You so we can live fully even while this life is hard. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.