STRENGTH IN THE STRUGGLE
Struggle is a means of strengthening our character. When life presents us with a struggle, our minds tell us to remove or avoid the struggle in any way possible. It's okay to pray, “Abba, Father! You can do all things. Let me not have this cup of suffering." It's also important to add, "But do what you want, not what I want.” Those were the words of Jesus from John 14:36 (ICB). He was about to go through the struggle of the cross. The cross is the Greatest Struggle of All Time. None of us will ever come close to going through a struggle of that magnitude. Jesus set himself beside and did what God wanted. I need to focus on having gratitude that he would endure such suffering for me and you.
In the picture above, a youth pastor stands with his group on the morning after struggling up a mountain. They had come to the Adirondack Mountains in New York for their first mountain hike and were met with unexpected heavy snow. It was slippery on the way up, but they made it to the top by helping each other. With the help of many other people, the Directors of Youth With A Purpose have lead many mountain hiking expeditions. One statement repeated by almost all of the young people who were first time hikers sticks in our minds, "This was the hardest thing I ever had to do!" Life is hard sometimes. You'll find strength for the struggle at the cross.
Life wants to pull us toward the comfort of carnal directions - all of those things that appease our physical and emotional senses. I think God uses struggle as a means of helping us attain greater brokenness. The more broken we are, the greater is his presence within us. Struggle creates greater compassion for those with greater struggles than our own. Someone's cross is heavier today, can you help them carry it?
DAY ELEVEN WORD
Hebrews 10:32 International Children’s Bible
“Remember those days in the past when you first learned the truth.
You had a hard struggle with many sufferings,
but you continued strong.”
1 Timothy 4:10 International Children’s Bible
“For this is why we work and struggle:
We hope in the living God.
He is the Savior of all people.
And in a very special way,
he is the Savior of all who believe in him.”
Genesis 3:17 New Living Translation
“And to the man he said,
“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.”
Philippians 1:30 New Living Translation
“We are in this struggle together.
You have seen my struggle in the past,
and you know that I am still in the midst of it.”
DAY ELEVEN PRAYER
Thank you God for my struggles. I know I can't get stronger without the struggles. Help me focus on gratitude for the struggle of Christ and have better eyes to see the struggles of others. Feed my compassion through my fasting. Amen.
DAY ELEVEN DEEP THOUGHTS
- What do you have to be grateful for during the last 11 days?
- Can you see a relationship between struggle and developing strong character?
- What helps you to keep going during a struggle?
- Can you encourage others with what God has given you?
- Gratitude - use it for 10 more days of fasting.
- Look to the end of your fast as another beginning - one where God will feed you new opportunities to feed greater numbers of people the Bread of Life.