Everyone has them. Children, men, and women have them. Single, married, divorced, and grieving people have them. Good people, indifferent people, and evil people have them. Teens, adults of all ages, even elderly people have them. Parents with children at home and parents with grown children have them. Healthy people, sick people, poor people, middle class people, and rich people have them.

The only requirement for having struggles is life. If you are alive, you have struggles. The issue is always the same: "How will I deal with my struggles?" The issue is never, "Will I have struggles?"

The human reaction to struggle is strange. "Mine" are "real" and "unavoidable." "Yours" are "unnecessary." If "I" were "you," "I" would not struggle. However, if "you" were "me," "you" could not cope with "my" struggles.

If you inquire about my struggles, I will do one of three things. (a) I will deny that I have any struggles. I might even be offended that you imply that I do. Your inquiry may be considered an intrusion. (b) I might express appreciation for your concern while minimizing my struggles. I might even indicate that something breaking my heart is no more than a minor irritation I occasionally notice. (c) Or, I may throw myself a pity party at your expense. I might exaggerate my problems. I might magnify my insecurity. I might do all I can to make you feel sorry for me.

Christians do a less than desirable job of declaring Jesus' messages about struggles. The ability to cope is not found in denying or exaggerating the fact that we each confront problems. People can help, but people are neither the ideal nor complete answer.

After noting the fickleness and blindness of many people, Jesus offered hope: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

On the last night of his physical life, he said this to the twelve: "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Jesus does not cause our struggles to "evaporate." He gives us strength to cope with them.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 25 August 2002

 Link to next article

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell