Struggling is an inevitable part of the human experience. We all face trials and tribulations that test our faith and will. If you’ve ever asked yourself “Why am I struggling?” or “Does God care about my suffering?”, you’re not alone.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible acknowledges that struggles are a normal part of life and something that both strengthens our character and brings us closer to God if we lean on Him through difficult seasons.
In this comprehensive article, we will explore several key Bible passages to understand the biblical perspective on why we struggle, and how God wants us to respond in the midst of hardship.
Struggles Are a Normal Part of Life Due to Sin
We Live in a Fallen World
Since Adam and Eve’s original sin, our world has been tainted by sin and corruption (Genesis 3). This has led to disease, natural disasters, conflict, poverty, injustice and so many other problems that cause people to suffer and struggle.
Though God’s original plan was for a perfect world, our current fallen state means that struggles are an inevitable part of life for believers and unbelievers alike (John 16:33).
The Bible is clear that Christians will face trials and tribulations like everyone else in this imperfect world. However, as believers we have the hope and assurance that God is still in control amidst the chaos, and He can use everything for His glory and purpose in our lives (Romans 8:28).
Through faith in Christ, our present struggles are only temporary, as we look forward to the day when God will restore this world to His original perfect design with no more pain or suffering (Revelation 21:1-5).
We Have an Adversary Who Attacks Us
Not only do we live in a fallen world, but Christians also face opposition from Satan, our spiritual adversary. The Bible describes Satan as a lion looking to devour believers (1 Peter 5:8), and his evil spiritual forces continually wage war against followers of Christ (Ephesians 6:12).
Whether it be temptations to sin, accusations of unworthiness, physical affliction or persecution, the devil uses various schemes to discourage, deceive and destroy God’s people.
Yet even in the midst of Satan’s attacks, God is still in control. With the power of the Holy Spirit living within us, believers have divine help and protection to stand firm against the devil’s tactics (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Through prayer, by suiting up with God’s spiritual armor and resisting the devil, Christians can emerge victorious from spiritual battles as we keep our eyes fixed on Christ (James 4:7).
Struggles Reveal Areas We Need to Grow
It’s easy to view struggles as purely negative experiences that we should seek to avoid. However, the Bible often portrays trials as opportunities for growth in our faith and character. Difficult circumstances refine us and peel away layers of sin and self-reliance so that we turn to Christ and become more like Him (1 Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-4).
God uses struggles to strengthen virtues like patience, endurance and hope within us (Romans 5:3-5).
Additionally, by wrestling through diverse struggles and relying on God’s grace to overcome them, we gain wisdom and the ability to comfort others facing similar situations with the comfort we’ve received from Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Rather than viewing every struggle as a punishment or somehow meaning God has abandoned us, we can trust that He will use hardships and afflictions to mold us into the image of Christ and refine us for greater effectiveness in His kingdom.
God Allows Struggles to Shape Our Character
Struggles Teach Us Reliance on God
Going through difficulties can lead us to depend more on God rather than our own strength (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). When we realize our limitations, we learn to lean on Him. As Psalm 50:15 says, we can call on God in times of trouble and He will deliver us.
Struggles remind us that God is our ultimate source of help and comfort.
Hardships Develop Perseverance and Maturity
Battling challenges requires perseverance that develops our character (Romans 5:3-4). Getting through troubles makes us spiritually mature and equips us to handle future trials (James 1:2-4). We can even count it joy when we face various tests, knowing it produces endurance and Christlike traits.
For example, a 2018 Pew Research survey found that 38% of American Muslims said facing discrimination made them more determined to succeed. So difficulties can motivate us toward growth.
Suffering Equips Us to Comfort Others
When we suffer, we receive God’s comfort so that we can apply that same comfort to others in their troubles (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). People who have endured adversity can better empathize and uplift those experiencing similar situations.
Going through affliction gives us wisdom and compassion to support others.
For instance, author Joni Eareckson Tada became quadriplegic from a diving accident at age 17. Despite her limitations, she has written 50 books and founded Joni and Friends to accelerate Christian ministry to the disability community across the globe.
Her journey with suffering equipped her to bring hope to millions.
How to Respond to Struggles Biblically
Acknowledge Pain But Keep Perspective of Eternity
It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed when facing struggles in life. Whether it’s a health issue, financial problem, or relationship conflict, these trials can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.
However, as Christians, we can’t lose perspective that this life on earth is fleeting compared to eternity with God (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). By keeping an eternal viewpoint, we realize struggles are temporary and focus on what truly matters – our relationship with Christ.
When encountering pain, it’s okay to acknowledge the hurt and grief. Jesus wept at Lazarus’ tomb showing it’s natural to feel sadness during hardships (John 11:35). However, we can’t get stuck dwelling on troubles.
The Bible urges us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith who endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). As we turn to Christ during difficulties, He comforts and carries us through the darkest valleys (Psalm 23:4).
Pray Boldly and Honestly to God
God invites us to come boldly to His throne of grace in prayer, to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Through prayer, we can fully express our hearts to our compassionate Father, including pain, anger, doubt, and fear.
David freely poured out his anguished soul to God during times of trouble (Psalm 6:6-7). Jesus provided a model of earnest prayer in Gethsemane as He cried out fervently to the Father when facing the cross (Matthew 26:38-39).
God can handle our raw emotions. In fact, He wants us to bring our authentic selves to Him in prayer without pretense or hiding. As we openly share pain with God, He often relieves our burdens, providing supernatural peace and comfort.
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us during weakness with “wordless groans” conveying our deepest emotions before God (Romans 8:26-27). We may enter prayer downtrodden but emerge with renewed hope and strength.
Seek Community and Counsel
The Bible urges us to “carry each other’s burdens” and mourn with those who mourn (Galatians 6:2, Romans 12:15). God designed Christians to care for each other during trials. By sharing struggles within a supportive community, we experience encouragement, accountability, and wisdom for navigating challenges.
In addition to laypeople, mature believers can provide biblical counsel on applying God’s truth to life’s difficulties. “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory,” Proverbs states (11:14).
God gave leaders like pastors, teachers and mentors to guide fellow Christians through trials (Ephesians 4:11-13). Seeking advice helps illuminate godly solutions and prevents making decisions out of unchecked emotion that leads to further hardship.
With community and counsel, we gain perspective that struggles – while deeply painful – are purposeful in God’s greater plan of sanctifying us to be more like Christ and bring Him glory (Romans 8:28-29).
Life is filled with trials and pain, but we have hope because God walks through every struggle with us. He promises to be near to the brokenhearted and use all things – even our darkest valleys – for our ultimate good.
Rather than asking “Why me?” in seasons of hardship, we can say “Even this” and trust that He will use it to shape Christ’s character in us. We never struggle alone because Christ lives in us. May we walk in that truth today.