The Blessing In The Struggle

June 2, 2016
by Scott Williams

Romans 14:1 – Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. (NRSV)

Some weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a day-long video workshop on a sensitive topic that can be divisive and difficult for some people to talk about. So the opportunity to discuss it with others in a safe environment was valuable.

During one of the breaks, an older woman approached me with tears in her eyes. She was clearly distressed and saddened by the discussion and debate. I don't know where she stood on the difficult issue; I was more concerned about her level of distress. I tried to be supportive and empathetic, and then said the first words that popped into my mind: that perhaps the struggle was the point — that perhaps God didn't want to provide us with an easy answer to every question, and wanted us to struggle and wrestle with some of our questions.

Then I said how fortunate I thought we were that we could struggle and wrestle with them in community with each other.

Jeremiah 33:3 – Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (NRSV)

Matthew 18:20 – For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. (NRSV)

Throughout my adult life, I have often felt that the struggle to discern the will and mind of God was the central struggle of the Christian. For me, prayer is one of my primary tools in the struggle for that discernment. The passage from Jeremiah, and many others in the Bible, remind us that prayer isn't just something that a human person decided was a good idea; it's something from God. The opportunity to pray — for help, for understanding, for wisdom — is a wonderful and powerful gift. But the gift doesn't end there. The passage from Matthew reminds us that if we pray in community with others, the Holy Spirit will be with us and amongst us. What a blessing that is! Because if we are going to go through some struggle — no matter how dark or difficult — isn't it nice to know that we are not alone?

The real gift of prayer is confidence: confidence that no matter what the question, we can bring it to God.

Prayer: Thank You, God, for the gift of prayer. Thank You for listening to us and guiding us. Thank You for our faith communities, that whatever hard road we must travel, we are able to travel it with other believers. Thank You for the Holy Spirit, and for the certain knowledge that we are never, ever alone. Amen.

About the author:

Scott Williams <svw59@outlook.com>
Madoc, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you Scott.


    Thanks for sharing!


    Thanks. That was something I needed to read.


    Wonderful reminder Scott that prayer works. Thanks.


    Good thoughts this morning Scott. Thanks for sharing.


    Scott, thanks for issuing this call to compassion. Blessings.


    How beautifully written! I pray you will continue to contribute. Thank you.


    Amen Scott a good word today.
    Blessings.


    The real gift of prayer is confidence: confidence that no matter what the question, we can bring it to God.


    Scott, that is the perfect perspective to bring into this upcoming Assembly. Thank you!
    Blessings.


    I enjoyed your words and believe you are “so right”. I have sent them to several people. Thanks.
    (B.C.)


    Thank you very much for your devotional and the reminder that prayer IS a gift from God! We can bring anything to our ever-present Heavenly Father in prayer!
    Do continue to write.


    Wise words – thank you! I am off to General Assembly later today and grieve for the tone of the debate I have seen in social media. Maybe if more conversations were with God instead of trying to force one’s opinion on others we could find our way forward together! Blessings.


    What an insightful message. Many thanks for sharing. Sounds like you were a kind and supportive listener for the woman involved and I am sure you helped to ease her discomfort. My thoughts and prayers will be with those attending the General Assembly as they address the issue this week.


    Hi Scott,
    You are right. Prayer is so important, that is why one of my favorite hymns is “What a friend we have in Jesus.”
    What ever our problems are, however bad or good we feel, we can bring it all to Him in prayer.
    Blessings.


    Dear Scott,
    I very much appreciated your thoughts today. As I struggle with problems daily, it does give me comfort to know He is there to help me. I think of the verse that says His strength is made perfect in our weakness; how true. Thanks for sharing and I pray you will continue to write your thoughts to us-your readers.
    God bless,
    (California USA)


    Dear Scott Williams,
    Thank you for your exposition on the scripture verses: Jeremiah 33:3 and Matthew 18:20. It is very helpful.
    May God continue to bless you in discernment.
    Keep writing.


    Hello Scott, Thank you for your message.


    Yes Scott it is a blessing to be able to have prayer and fellowship with other believers and to depend on the word of God in our searching.
    Thanks for your devotional on this topic.

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