The Instagram account of one of my friends revealed the downward spiral. She and her husband have been at home with their children for the last three weeks. At first, she was posting creative activities that she had given her children. Smiles abounded. Shots of the kids playing on the lawn came often. Family bonds were strengthened.
Evidence of the decline began with a post showing a crayon-scrawled letter from the son to the mother explaining how his sister got more chips at lunch. The accepted currency of quarantine grew from toilet paper and hand sanitizer to include tortilla chips as well. Soon after came a similar letter, with the same handwriting, nonchalantly asking if it was okay to eat cat treats.
Then, a couple of days later, the image that defined the moment came: a close-up of a broken egg lying on the floor in a puddle of leaked yolk. The caption read something to the effect of, “It’s happened. I’ve cracked. I love these little people more than life itself, but their bickering is weighing on me, and I need a quiet hour alone.”
It’s comedic in a way, but in all seriousness, people are beginning to feel the strain more as the days slip by. The struggle is becoming less of an interruption of the routine and more of the routine itself.
The frustrations and uncertainty coupled with the boredom and isolation of cabin fever can be a difficult pill to swallow. It’s easy to look at self-quarantine, closed restaurants and empty shelves at grocery stores and consider it all as meaningless suffering and irritating inconveniences, but when we look to what the Bible says to us, it is very clear that difficulties have purpose.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (James 1:2-3).
Consider it…joy? Absolutely.
Why would we do that? Why would we make a conscious choice to consider it a joyous moment when we are placed under a trial? Because God will use the pain to strengthen our faith and build our spiritual endurance.
Every struggle, trial and moment of suffering is entrusted to you by God as a means to know him, love him more deeply and be transformed into the likeness of Christ. We will not understand the process of sanctification unless we include a correct theology of suffering: pain will come to all who follow Christ, and pain is redeemed as it is woven into the plan of God as a means to purify our hearts and strengthen our faith.
Your struggle is strategic. Allow the pressure to drive you to prayer. Turn your woes into worship. Let the pain lead you to praise.
Your loudest groans can be the seeds of your greatest growth.
We will look beyond the pain of today and weigh them against the coming glory of God being worked out in us. Romans 8:18 – For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
We will embrace the reality that pain will come to each of us and will walk through our times of suffering with complete dependence upon Christ and the peace he gives by his victory. John 16:33 – “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
No matter the type of struggle – whether spiritual, mental, emotional or physical – we would not be overcome, but live in the strength given to us by Jesus. 2 Corinthians 4:8–9 – We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.