Friday, May 16, 2008

The Other Side of Struggling

The other day I said, "God, you better come quick. I'm struggling here." And then I said, "No. Actually, I'm not struggling. I'm on the other side of struggling. I passed struggling a long time ago." I sounded like Dorothy making the announcement to Toto that they weren't in Kansas anymore.

I thought about the difference between struggling and being on the other side of struggling. Have you ever tried to dress a struggling child? Or put their shoes on them while they are trying to get away from you? My lab struggles to get out of the bath tub when it's bath time and it makes my job ten times harder.

I thought about a person caught in a rip current, struggling to swim against it when their salvation lies in floating with it. I thought about how difficult it is for a life guard to save a drowning person when they are struggling to stay above the water. Maybe struggling so hard that they can't even see the life ring or safety float being handed to them.

I'm sure you can see where God was leading me. Struggling is not a good place to be. We talk heroically about struggling. Trying hard. Hanging in there. Being tough. When actually struggling only makes it harder for our rescuer to come to our rescue. We get in the way.
We tie our ropes in tighter knots. We dig our holes deeper. And we waste precious time going around in circles.

The world would have us think that being on the other side of struggling is a bad place to be. That we have found ourselves at a place where there is nothing we can do to help ourselves. I think that is what I thought the other day, when I announced to God that my residency had changed from struggling to the other side of struggling. Like He didn't know! Now I realize that what I thought was a demotion was a promotion. Because of Christ, when I am weak, I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) When I can't (which is most of the times these days), He can.

In the last 24 hours, God has let me see into the lives of 4 people that I love very much. They have shared very private and very painful moments with me. I know they have survived them because they are living on the other side of struggling. They know that there is absolutely nothing they can do to save themselves from unforeseen rip currents in their lives that are trying to pull them under and destroy them or their families. They know their only hope is in the Lord. That He will fight for them.

I realized today that I haven't moved. I was already living on the other side of struggling. There's never been anything I could do to help myself. The other day, I forgot. For a little while, I thought it was up to me. That was a mighty-ugly little while.

It's all grace.

The other side of struggling is the land of grace.

A place where...

He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might
He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:29-31


  1. Ok, so every time I read one of your blogs I say this is the best one yet, but this one is the best one yet because it so vividly describes where God wants us to be...utterly dependant upon HIM.

  2. If I can only stay on the other side of struggling. Thank you for your encouraging words, cards, calls and most of all your prayers. Forgive me for my absence. I am still praying for you all. Trying very hard to be still. I love you. MJN

  3. You should combine your blog into a devotional at the end of the year.~Charis