Finding God in the Struggle
By Rev. Kyle Norman
"For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken." - Psalm 62:1-2
I have a mug in which I like to drink my morning coffee. “The struggle is real…” the mug says, and so it is. Simply watch the morning news, and you will uncover the harshness of this reality. Whether it’s my morning drowsiness or the weight of all I bear, there are times when the struggles of life rest heavily; I cannot help but feel a little wearied by it all. Are you the same?
Living faithfully means we must accept and name this struggle. Scripture continually gives voice to the difficult places of our lives. Christian faith is not a spiritual escapism. Faithfulness is rooted in a life that can be tragic, hard, difficult, or even unfair. We are never asked to gloss over these truths. Take, for example, Psalm 62. While the psalm is classified as a song of confidence, it is sung against the backdrop of difficulty. The opening verses describe how adversaries continually attempt to topple the psalmist over and how curses are heard instead of blessings. This struggle is aptly articulated in the third verse, where from within this hardship, the psalmist lifts up an all-too-familiar question: “How long, O Lord?”
How Long? Have you ever cried those words before the Lord? Like the psalmist before you, have you ever felt the weight of oppressive life? Have you felt cursed rather than blessed? Yes, the struggle is real. Yet while faithfulness demands we acknowledge this hard truth, this is not where we stop. Yes, the struggle is real, my mug says, but then it goes on – “but so is God,” it proclaims. These four words make all the difference.
We can have confidence in our faith, a confidence that is rooted, not in the absence of struggle, but in the presence of the Lord who dwells with us. God’s strength is in direct contrast to the things of life that work against us. In faith, we are called to recognize that God is not just an observer of our lives. God surrounds us. The Lord is the solid rock on which we stand and a veritable fortress that protects and shelters. Thus, with the psalmist, we can declare that we will not be shaken. The solid foundation of the Lord is more secure and more powerful than anything that life can throw at us.
Our song of confidence lies in this divine embrace. Like a parent wrapping his or her arms around an infant, the warm might of God encompasses us. In that embrace, we can be hopeful and trusting. “Trust in the Lord, at all times, O people” the psalmist exhorts. Yes, we may feel the stresses and difficulties of life, but we will not be overtaken by them.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
The strength of God is grounded in God’s love for us. God is not just a strong being in the sky. Mere belief in the strength of God does little for us. One can be strong yet absent, mighty yet uncaring. Happily, this is not what Scripture declares. Scripture reveals that the Lord is loving. This truth is the heart of the gospel. It is what the incarnation is all about. The deep, deep love of Jesus means that we can be confident in his presence for us. The strong and mighty God is the one who became wrapped in flesh to enter the frailty of human life. Such is the magnificent love of God.
Of course, the love of the Lord does not make the struggle magically disappear. Occasionally, this truth is a hard one to bear. Yet during these times, we are encouraged to pour our hearts out confidently to the Lord. We do so, claiming the Lord’s promise that we will be lovingly received. We are not discarded in our times of struggle or stress. The call to seek Christ as our refuge is rooted in the call to experience the warmth of his loving presence.
In whatever you face, may you find your rest in God alone. May you uncover the presence of the Lord as your hope and your salvation. The Lord surrounds you. The Lord comforts you. The Lord secures your very life.
The struggle may be real. But so is God. Hallelujah.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Chad Madden
The Reverend Dr. Kyle Norman is the Rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral, located in Kamloops BC, Canada. He holds a doctorate in Spiritual formation and is a sought-after writer, speaker, and retreat leader. His writing can be found at Christianity.com, crosswalk.com, ibelieve.com, Renovare Canada, and many others. He also maintains his own blog revkylenorman.ca. He has 20 years of pastoral experience, and his ministry focuses on helping people overcome times of spiritual discouragement.