Break Through Life's Struggles — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Break Through Life’s Struggles — Morning Devotions

"The redeeming things in life are not happiness and pleasure, but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

By Chris WittsSunday 2 Oct 2022Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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F. Scott Fitzgerald was an American novelist. He wrote four novels, including the popular ‘The Great Gatsby’. There was one simple line that caught my attention in one of his novels that said, “The redeeming things in life are not happiness and pleasure but the deepest satisfactions that come out of struggle.” And I think his observation of life was correct.

He’s saying that struggles are worthwhile. Struggles are actually shaping a better version of you, and they give you the perseverance to push through. To give up on life is to take on a life of negativity and distress, and we all have our ups and downs. But it’s how we react to the struggles that really matters. Life is life, no matter what. Giving up on life long dreams and aspirations because of a few bumps in the road should never be an option.

You talk to anyone who is successful and they’ll agree. The great American singer Ella Fitzgerald once said – “It isn’t where you come from, it’s where you’re going that counts.

The author, Dr Charles Glassman, said “kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.” It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it’s very obvious when life gets hard. A lot of people look for the easy way out, and as a result they never achieve their goals and dreams in life. And as humans, we are wired somehow to seek out pleasure and to avoid the pain. And if we were given a choice, most of us would seek shortcuts and an easier path. You will not get to where you want to go in life by drifting along. Nearly everything that creates value in life requires intense effort and focus and hardship.

The research shows that more people regret things they didn’t do than the things they did, even if things they did do turn out badly. It’s easy to talk about all the reasons why you can’t do something or why it’s hard, and I know because I’ve felt like that. It hasn’t been a good move. Maybe you’re the same now. I know some people who show remarkable resilience. They just keep smiling through the storm, and what they say to themselves is ‘the struggles I am in today are developing the strength I need for tomorrow.’

It was Pope Paul the sixth, who said that “all life demands struggle, those who have anything given to them become lazy, selfish, insensitive. The striving and hard work is the major building block in the person we are today”, said Pope Paul, the sixth.

Something similar was expressed by the great Nelson Mandela. “The greatest glory in living – lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” So what both of these men are saying is this struggles can be used as opportunities. Now that can be a bit hard to accept. But we will learn through the difficult experiences. You do have a choice in many things.

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Do you remember the story of Viktor Frankel, the Jewish psychologists who spent time in the Nazi concentration camp in Germany? When talking about those horrible years, he said, “they stripped me naked. They took everything, my wedding ring, my watch. I stood there naked and all of a sudden I realised at that moment that although they could take everything away from me, my wife, my family and my possessions, they could not take away my freedom to choose how I was going to respond.”

There is a reason why things happen, and one day you’ll understand why. With God’s help, you can learn to discern what’s important and what’s not. Some issues are not worth the struggles. Hand them over to God’s care and let Him work it out. He is far wiser than you are, and the Bible promises that you can have a realistic hope during your struggles. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour. He gives us a hope that goes on forever, and that’s worth all the struggles.

The Bible says, “There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus”, and the Bible is full of stories of people who faced struggles, difficulties and trials. But many got through as they realised God was developing good things for them, like endurance, character and hope. The author of Psalm 16:11 wrote the prayer – “You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life as I walk with you. The pleasures are never ending, and I know true joy and contentment.”

Let’s Pray

Lord thank you for caring about my struggles and hurts. Thank you for letting my fragile life matter to you because your love is far more intimate and tender than I could ever imagine. Please help me through the struggles I have at work, home and elsewhere. Please, Lord, walk beside me as I face pain, hurt and rejection. Thank you that I matter to you and that you hear me, amen.