Musings: The Struggle

Over the course of my life, I have written a lot. Part of it is an occupational hazard and
part of it is simply love for the written word. Over the course of many years, I have put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard more than I can remember. Between the papers, stories, plays, sermons, articles, and various other things, I can’t even guess how many pages I have written.

But everything I have ever written has been born of struggle. Let me explain.
For some people, writing just happens. The words fall out of their minds and onto the
page with minimal effort. They create, edit, and finalize on the fly without so much as a second
thought seemingly. C.S. Lewis supposedly wrote the Narnia series as basically a first draft with minimal edits. He is what writing coaches and editors call as pantster or someone who write by the seat of their pants. I am not so lucky. I write first, second, sometimes third drafts, throw them away, start over, write a few more drafts and then halfway like the result and give up. Okay, it’s not quite that bad but it is a struggle most of the time to get things said the way I want to say them.

I think struggle is the nature of our faith as well. The things we come to believe—meaning those things we are willing to live into as a lifestyle—are things we have usually
struggled with in order to come to the conclusion that they are worth the effort. I think there is
a biblical precedent for this. Consider Jacob and his wrestling match, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome” (Genesis 32:28). Jacob wanted a blessing and even with a dislocated hip refused to let go. Paul says we will struggle and “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12) and also, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my
presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). These ideas about living in the Way of Jesus were born of wrestling, struggling with how to convey the truth of Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection to a world who had never heard of him.

What I want to encourage here is to wrestle or struggle with the things you trust in
where God is concerned. Be willing to test and try the things you believe to know whether or not you really believe them. Make a point of sharing your thoughts with others and allow
friends to “sharpen” you as you “sharpen” them. Never be afraid to ask the questions or
wonder the thoughts as you dig into the very rich tapestry woven over the past few millennia.

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