If you’re struggling, maybe you’re exactly where you need to be.
We tend to see struggle as a bad thing. I know I do. I’ve grown up with money struggles, with struggles to be the kind of Christian I ought to be and figuring out what that looks like, with my perception of who I am as opposed to my perception of what society thinks I should be. Right now I am struggling with figuring out ways I can effectively raise my missions budget without being pushed into doing things that feel like a betrayal of who I am and how I approach life. I have tended to think that if I am struggling, it means I am in the wrong place, doing the wrong things, dealing with things in the wrong way.
But recently I read a blog post that put such things in a different perspective. It was called, “What If I Fall Apart On The Mission Field?” and here is part of what it said:
“But — what if that’s not such a bad thing? I mean, what if it doesn’t end there, with you at the end of yourself? What if all the stuff that surfaces is supposed to surface? What if the only way to know what’s inside your heart is for it to come out? And what if the junk that needs to come out wouldn’t actually come out in your home country?
So maybe those multiple breakdowns have a purpose. Maybe knowing your weaknesses means you know God more intimately. Maybe you are exactly where He wants you to be, right at this moment. Maybe living overseas means becoming the person that God created you to be.”
Can it be true that God has ordained this fundraising struggle for me? The fact that I am struggling means that I am dealing with something that needs to be dealt with. That God has a purpose for my wholeness and strength, and to get there, I must have this struggle.
It made me think of the familiar verses from Romans 5.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
This struggle can be a reason for joy, because God is in it. God has a purpose in it. God is producing perseverance in me, creating in me the character I need for the life He has given me, developing hope that is not mere naive optimism but is based on the love He has poured out on me. Through my difficulties in fundraising, God is making me the right person to go teach future missionaries in Europe.
I’ve definitely not fully learned this yet. I’ve only just discovered it for myself, as if I were the first person who ever came up with it rather than hearing it over and over my whole life. But I’ve realized that whatever struggles are involved, I would rather be here in this place, itinerating, fundraising, struggling, than anywhere else in the world (except in Europe where I belong, of course).