The Struggle

If you’re an adult, you have must likely personally experienced some of the following struggles during your life. Work saps your energy and brings stress, your kids are constantly hungry (which means meal prep and dishes never end), your vehicle requires EXPENSIVE and REGULAR maintenance, invasive pests ravage your garden, bills arrive faster than paychecks, your marriage isn’t the perfectly smooth fairytale you always expected, you experience deep internal emotional/spiritual struggles and finally you find opposition when you choose to spend time with God.

What. Is. The. Deal?! Do you ever ask yourself "Why does it feel like so much is against me?!"

Welcome to existence on this imperfect planet which is cursed by The Lord God.

In Genesis 3:1-24 the perfection of Eden is shattered. The cunning lies of The Adversary lead to the sin of disobedience which causes God to permeate His creation with a curse. What a chain of events. On that day all creation forever changed. 

You probably know the scene — God’s highest created angel (now fallen and evil) takes the form of talking serpent and tricks the first woman Eve into disobeying God’s only command. She eats the forbidden fruit and then her husband Adam eats after her. Then, one-by-one God curses each one — first the serpent, then the woman and finally the man.

So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘you shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.
— Genesis 3:14-19

Recently I’ve taken a closer look at the curse and I can tell you that there are more life-altering words in these 6 verses than we think or know. In that moment God cursed our environment, work, roles, relationships, effort, strength and life itself. The effects of the curse spread far and run deep. I can’t encapsulate or explain the entire curse in this post (there simply isn’t enough space or time) so, I would like to focus on a specific portion of the curse — the struggle it began. 

The curse was, and still is, the catalyst for struggle in life. The curse brings physical and spiritual struggles, struggles to the entire human race and challenges specific to men and to women. The curse formalized the struggle between God and Satan, initiated women’s struggle in carrying and bearing children, her struggle relating to her husband and man’s struggle with existence, work and his environment. OK, enough with discussions of this struggle. You get it and I feel that I’ve made my point.

Those of us who want life (or even abundant life) ask "now what?"

In a word we need to overcome. Many products, services and technologies in 2017 are devoted to ignoring, eliminating or escaping the curse. We should not attempt to avoid the curse. As Christians we need to understand that rather than working to escape God's curse, we are to persevere and overcome the shadow it throws upon our existence. 

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
— 1 John 5:4

In this vein, in the early part of James 1, God calls believers to endure testing so that they may be perfect and complete lacking nothing. First Peter speaks of endurance and fiery trials which purify us in our journey to become like our Holy Father. When we, by faith, navigate the curse and the struggles it brings, we overcome and have victory through Christ.

I am here to boldly proclaim to you today that overcoming all of the struggles is worth it. Life is worth this wrestling match that we are in. There are lasting rewards, pleasures and freedom for those who overcome the struggle! Some of the final words that the Apostle John heard in heaven succinctly express the final and eternal victory we should desire

Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.
— Revelation 21:3-5

In the end God will completely deliver His children from the curse. Are you willing to endure life (including the curse) here and now so that you can overcome and receive a future crown that will last forever?

Are you experiencing a struggle, or even multiple challenges today?

I encourage you to press forward to the victory, overcoming by faith and the leading of The Holy Spirit. In your life, victory or defeat begins with your choice and I sincerely hope that you make the choice to overcome!

Additional scriptures: Isaiah 24:1-12, Matthew 6:19-21, Romans 8:18-25, 2 Corinthians 4:11-18, Philippians 3:7-14, Hebrews 12:1-3, 1 Peter 1:3-9 and Revelation 21:7