I appreciate when God opens my eyes to remind me of the suffering in the world around me because it really helps me not feel sorry for myself. Every once in a while I get a wakeup call to the reality that life isn’t supposed to be sunshine and roses. We live in a fallen world. This false, comfy world I’ve created for myself is an illusion that is crumbling as I come to realize I cannot make my life “perfect.” Inevitably, there will always be something that is annoying or painful.
So many times I find myself thinking, “If I could just fix this one thing, everything would be perfect.” Being so close to “perfect” tends to make us hungrier for it because “first-world problems” stand out against the soothing lull of our comfy lives. Problems are “abnormal” and therefore we must do something about them because “perfection” is supposedly within reach.
Or so we think. The truth is, once God helps me overcome one struggle, there will come another. It seems that the goal is not to achieve a comfortable, struggle-free life but to go where God is leading me – whether that means more struggle or less struggle.
Sometimes I like to imagine what my life will be like post-anxiety, after God helps me overcome my overreaction to stress. I imagine how comfortable my life will be and how at peace I will be from learning how to fully trust God. While this is a wonderful goal and may be something that God desires for me, I should not expect immediate gratification.
For example, when we pray for more faith, God doesn’t always immediately give it to us. This can be confusing because He wants us to have faith so why wouldn’t He give it to us? Then I remember that struggles and weakness can be glorifying to God when they cause us to turn to Him so perhaps these struggles do not need to be overcome as soon as possible. God can do wonderful things in our hearts even when we feel too weak or anxious to be of any use.
Therefore, I shouldn’t necessarily rush to become less anxious or even to trust God more. Most people in the world face much more difficult struggles and if anxiety is the struggle that helps me fully realize my need for God then I am exceedingly thankful that it is nothing worse.
If God takes my anxiety away, my life may be more comfortable but what I will do with that comfort may not necessarily be glorifying to God. As much as I love comfort, I am constantly reminded that it is not the goal of life. And as much as I want to learn to trust God more, I know that God can do wonderful things by making me wait in hope and expectation for the faith He is longing to give me when the time is right.
And then I will learn to trust Him in a new way through a new struggle. I’m in no hurry to get to that next one but come what may. Jesus is with me.