October 4th

I’m struggling with what to say today. I have prayed and pondered, read some inspirational material and done my daily Bible study. I’ve distracted myself so that I could shake the cobwebs out, then hunkered down hoping to have the right words to share. I’ve even gone so far as to write down a brilliant title that expressed a good idea, but the idea doesn’t seem quite right for today.
Nothing seems to be coming easily. Nothing seems to be coming with great struggle. So rather than a neatly and tidily prepared set of “Thoughts” I offer today the reality of the in-between. The process rather than the finished product. The struggle rather than the victory.
As I write, two images come to mind: Jesus leaving the crowds to pray by Himself, and Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, wrestling with God in prayer. Both those scenarios reveal Jesus working through His faith; He goes away to pray alone, separated from his disciples, just Him and God. We don’t know what He prayed on those occasions; only in the garden do we hear what happened, and it was not what we expected. There Jesus struggled with His fate. There we realize His full humanity, a condition that belied His Godly perfection and revealed how He too could suffer and doubt.
“Not my will, but yours.” He concludes.
And so I share my own struggling thoughts, uncertain what to say but saying something anyway, understanding that what I am doing is not my will, but God’s. I might not know quite what that will is today, but even in my doubt I trust that Jesus is worth following, and that somehow, God’s desire for me will be accomplished even when I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to think.
Perhaps out of all this rambling I can offer this one clear thought: sometimes it’s the struggle and not the victory that matters. In the struggle we reveal that we’re trying, that something is worth working or even fighting for, that in our weakness we still have power, and that in our doubt there remains the possibility of an answer. Or it’s maybe that the very fact we are willing to struggle means we have hope. Maybe it’s as simple as that. Jesus always came back from His prayers. Jesus left His Gethsemane struggle and went to Skull Hill. His struggle was not the final answer, but it was a vital part of making His choice to follow God’s will.
Don’t be afraid if there are no immediate answers. Don’t be afraid of the nagging questions or troubling doubts. They are not the final expression of God’s will; they are just part of the process, part of the reality of being human. If nothing else, our willingness to struggle marks that we still have hope. We might not know what God’s will is. We might be uncertain we can carry it through. We might not even like what God’s will seems to be for us, but if we aren’t willing to struggle with the choice, we will never get to the place where we can say with confidence: “Your will, not mine, God.”

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