In spite of our cultural and technological advancements, many people struggle with disappointment, depression, and despair. Every person regardless of position, power, or pedigree struggles. Many Christians I know struggle with problems they are afraid to share with their Christian sisters and brothers. They fear exposure will produce ridicule or rejection. This reluctance turns spiritual community into a shell game where members hide their flaws. The struggle we all feel becomes like an untreated wound. More isolation leads to more struggle.
There are parts of our lives that we need to wrestle and subdue. There are parts of a believer that must be honed, shaped, and cut away. Just as there are parts that need to be encouraged, built upon, and added to. Each of us has unconquered demons. None of us are finished products. We need something more to complete us. A group of believers building one another up and correcting one another is a powerful and transformative force that God uses with frequency.
I am not talking about church attendance, though that is important. I am talking about a connection with others, a communion of sharing, compassion, edification, and discipleship. A small collection of struggling people moving ever closer to God, shaping decisions based on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and leading lives more and more in line with Jesus, transforms every struggle into Godly growth.
The function of connecting like this is to take our struggle and apply prayer to each situation. For years I thought that prayer should be part of my life. I was wrong. The more I learn about prayer the more I realize it is to be the center of my life. The more I learn about prayer, the more I am convinced life itself flows out of prayer. Deeper, clearer understanding of the nature of prayer moves me to bring God to my struggle and to the struggles of our world. Intercession, that is to bring an all sufficient God to meet the needs of a struggling, insufficient person, a broken situation, or monstrous circumstances, is the goal. There is hope. God is not finished. He is looking for someone to change His circumstances.
Despair is presumptuous. It assumes that the sun will not come up tomorrow and even if it does, it will not be felt. None of us knows enough about the future to be hopeless. We are reminded of hope in faith, fellowship, and friendship. Isolation and despair only add to our struggle.
Easter is coming quickly. Spring and the last bits of snow are melting away. Even now there are strongholds in your life that you have long struggled with. As we each seek the hope that Spring brings we begin to see the old habits melt away, yet they linger. We pray out of our need. God prays for us out of His abundance. He is praying for you. Bringing resurrection power to cold dead parts of your struggle. Honestly bringing your struggle to the Lord, interceding as if God is not finished, and connecting with a group of believers to glorify Him, will bring new life. (John 12:27)