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Monday, May 19, 2014

Is There a Way To Be Thankful In the Struggle?




How often we forget and lose

When we strive and struggle with the blues,

We lose out on life because our hope

Is reliant too much on our own strength to cope.

But it is good for us to be troubled

And this is no sadistic teaching

So look up when trials are doubled

We are blessed in our very reaching!

“It is good for us to have trials and troubles at times, for they remind us that we are on probation and ought not to hope in worldly things.”

— Thomas à Kempis (1380–1471)

YES. Yes is the short answer to the question, “Is there a way to be thankful in the struggle?” But this knowledge is conditional on at least two things. Firstly, we are not thankful for the struggle – just in it – for that would be sadistic teaching (to be thankful for something that is hard. Some people in some circumstances are able to be thankful, especially months or years after the threat has passed. But not for all or in all circumstances. But we can be thankful that we carry about us the very Presence of God in the struggle.) The second condition is so simple we could easily miss it.

It relies heavily on the word, “probation.”

Yes, we, Christians of the saved to the Kingdom of Heaven kind, (for there is no other sort of Christian), are on probation. We gallivant around in a world free, having served our sentence, or, more appropriately, having been pardoned of our crimes. But our gallivanting is curtailed, in that we are often called to suffer without the worldly ‘coping mechanisms’ those of the world have access to (those that give them no solace, mind you).

Our trials and troubles ought to drive us into the heart of God who can console us in our afflictions with the consolation that only God can give.

We also ought to know that this is the only way we can live the authentic Christian life, for we are not living the Christian life when we resist those pains we ought to endure.

Our trials and troubles will remind us that we are forgiven and need not venture into anarchy against the Lord God Almighty. We must do better than that. And by doing better we simply resist the default of the flesh to wriggle out of difficulty. We endure it the best we can, albeit imperfectly.

Difficulty can be endured.

***

As we wrestle with the ignominy of trials and troubles we can endure them. We can. And when we do, we find we are responding to our trials and troubles absolutely in accord with how we are encouraged to. Blessing is the end result.

© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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