The Gift of Struggle

Sharon JaynesListening to God, Living Fully, Mamma Moments with God 52 Comments

I don’t like to struggle.  I don’t like to see my child, my husband, or my friends struggle. I like life to be easy.

I want all my friends to love me all the time, my husband to agree with my every decision, and God to answer every prayer with a checkmark.

But deep down I know a carefree life will never produce a courageous person who trusts in God with all her heart. That’s why Jesus allowed His disciples to struggle—and still does today.

One night Jesus was praying on a mountain while His disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. He looked down and saw the disciples straining with the oars, struggling with the wind, and bailing water over the edge. But He wasn’t worried. Jesus calmly walked on the water and got into the boat, and immediately they were on the other side (Matthew 14:22–34, John 6:16).

Jesus could have simply spoken to the wind and waves from the mountaintop. But He allowed the disciples to struggle. More important than relieving their straining was strengthening their faith. They needed to know who He was, not just what He could do. If He had stopped the storm before the struggle, they might never have known that He was the One who controls it all.

James wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2–4). Mature. Complete. Not lacking anything.

We’ll all struggle in some form or fashion. No one is immune to suffering. But rather than viewing pain as a burden to bear, what if we considered it a gift for growing? What if we saw every trial as training? When we see our children, grandchildren, spouse or friends struggling, rather than trying to fix their problems, what if we prayed that God would use the difficult circumstance to make them stronger, wiser, and more mature in Christ?

I love how the story of the storm concludes with the disciples saying, “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33). That’s the hope of every struggle—the conclusion that clears up every doubt.

Father, Thank You for the struggles that make me stronger, wiser, kinder. Help me see trouble as training. I pray the Holy Spirit will help me know when to step in to help others with a struggle and when to step back to allow them to work it out on their own. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Paul wrote: “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3–4 Leave a comment and share one struggle that made you stronger.


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Comments 52

  1. Hen my husband passed 19 years ago I struggled being independent I always worked but he was the bread winner and made most of the important decisions I worried how I would take care of things my kids were grown but I still had me but through the grace of God I’m ok still working and leaning on God and so thankful for His blessings

    1. Dear Friend,
      You said everything I am going through myself – I too lost my husband my SOUL mate in September of 2022 – we shared each others lives and he was very calming person and at the same time an encouraging man to share life with – I am thankful to our loving GOD that he gave us sixty years of marriage together – I know I will always miss my Jim I am truly grateful to sit quietly and feel his loving arms around me and know that he is with me – thank you JESUS.

      1. I too lost my husband after 63 yrs tog. I have never been alone but I have made many decisions alone over the years as our relationship was not made in heaven. I have learned & am still learning to rely on God with confident trust. Pro 1:33 amp but my feelings are scary at times. Sue

  2. One struggle that has made me stronger is a recent financial struggle I overcame by trusting in God.
    Matthew 19:26-“With God, all things are possible.”

    1. My struggle has been having a son with substance use disorder. It has made me rely on God more and to trust Him to keep my son safe. I cannot do anything to help him. My prayer is that he will come to know Christ through this disease and be totally dependent on God. Please pray for Mark. Thank you.

  3. This really hit home this morning as my daughter struggles daily with an anoxic brain injury. You write so beautifully and the picture with this story is adorable!

  4. Father let me be able to pray for my children when I see them struggling instead of fixing. Father let them grow in faith and gain wisdom from any struggle they may encounter. In Jesus name Amen.

  5. Definitely my decision to quit drinking. 11/1/21! I have grown so much since that day and I know God has walked with me every single day. I am much stronger now and have tools to use when life gets tough.

    1. One thing I had was my church pastor where I got saved to persecute me and all church members this morning made stronger in the Lord

    2. Please pray for me that I will be able to fully surrender to God and quit drinking as well. I am so tired of the struggle. You sounded like it was just a decision that you decided to make one day. I know that God has so much more for me. Why is this so difficult?

  6. I was in a mentally/verbally abusive marriage for 32 years. Because Jesus was with me every step of the way my faith is stronger and I can understand women that are going through the same things I did. I never thought of it as a gift for growing, but that is what it was. Thank you for the devotional.

    1. Lord, why did you stay sooo long. I’m asking because I’m in a difficult marriage, sometimes abusive. My husband struggles with ocd disorders and now some brain fog due to marijuana use? I don’t want to stay, and frustrated because I haven’t felt free. This has been the hardest to deal with yet I do think I’ve learned to lean on God, yet it gets more difficult, and I’m really starting to question a lot…

  7. My husband left me with three little girls. It was 40 years ago! I thought I couldn’t survive! Now when I look back I realize my faith was developed in that struggle . I grow in many ways! ! God showed me I was more than a conqueror! I learned to trust God for everything.

    1. I can so relate! My husband left me after 30 years. My youngest was 15, so I didn’t have babies, but divorce is hard no matter what age. But like you, if he had not left, my faith would never have grown. I would never have known my Lord as I do today. I would never have relied on God for everything, because I know He will never leave me. All is good today – 29 years later!. My children are happy & healthy and married and I have 6 beautiful grandkids! God is so GOOD!

      1. Today is my 8th wedding anniversary. 06.18.16 – My beloved husband left me 8 months ago. I’ve been struggling today, but believing that the Lord can and will bring beauty for these devastating ashes. He is faithful! I’m still praying that one day my husband will remember the Lord and our marriage. Thank you for these testimonies that give me hope.

        1. Prayers for you Julie, I went through something similar, 30 years ago. I always wondered if I’d have a testimony from that time. I swung back and forth from wanting him to come back to letting him go. His remarriage within a year led to letting go. I had so much pain. Looking back, I know I could have done better by trying to work on me, instead I worked on trying to get remarried, which happened 18 years later. I wish I could say it was worth the wait. The only thing I can say is great is that I finally got to a point where I realized my worth (all along) was in Jesus. I didn’t know how valuable I was to Him. I’m thankful I learned but my life is definitely not where I had hoped. However, God is good and I still try and fight to realize that God’s love is perfect and nothing else matters. I hope you find this, a lot sooner than I did. You are sooo valuable to Him.

        2. Yesterday would have been our 50th anniversary too. My husband left me 21 years ago and the Lord has comforted, provided and sustained me. I saw miracle after miracle at so many points of difficulty and crisis. He will do that for you too. Praying for you Julie!

  8. My struggles have not only strengthened me but have strengthened my faith in God. Without our Lord and Savior I would not have gotten through the rough times. Looking back back, I see now if it had been easy, I would not have learned, I would not be the person I am today, I would not be able to support and help others. I would not be able to give, love and cherish my family, my friends or my community.

  9. I am still struggling with a son that is an addict. I have turned this over to God many times and taken it right back. I know God is at work with this in his own timing.

    1. Let go..let God..He loves your son more than you do..and He loves you..I have been there..give your precious son to His The Lord work..don’t rescue him..don’t enable him..Give him to the Lord and leave him at the foot of the cross. Peace to you.

      1. I also struggle with a son who’s addicted to alcohol and a failing marriage where he wants a divorce. How do you let go without taking it back? It’s a struggle.

      2. All these replies encourage me, knowing that we all struggle daily. The common denominator is Christ is the answer; for strength, encouragement, comfort, etc.
        Our children and grandchildren live in a world so different from what it was when we were younger. So much hate and anger in our environment, and so many hardened hearts.
        The encouragement is that no matter what condition our world is in, God is always in control and has the final say. Satan is alive and well! Defeat him in Prayer and Thanksgiving to God.

    2. Let go..let God..He loves your son more than you do..and He loves you..I have been there..give your precious son to His The Lord work..don’t rescue him..don’t enable him..Give him to the Lord and leave him at the foot of the cross. Peace to you.

  10. It’s almost 10 years since I went to work and was abused by someone I trusted. Recently I was at a meeting where I was in the same room with the same person. I didn’t cope very well, I was a mess. A leader friend said to me a week or so later that this incident would help me heal. I did not know how but now several weeks later I believe and know I have been able to heal more. Moving on and letting God do
    more in my life than living with the pain. I forgave the person many many years ago but the abuse was constantly in my thinking. with multiple attacks regularly happening.
    Now I have a different perspective and praying that through the storm I’m stronger and more resilient knowing Jesus has been with me through it all. What an awesome God we serve.

  11. Thankyou for your email. I enjoyed reading it ❤️ It did help me to see my struggle from a lighter perspective!

  12. Thank you for this devotional on struggles. Dr. David Jeremiah taught the same lesson this morning. Both words were a blessing to me. I am not in a struggle at present but have been and God is always faithful to help us at His timing not ours. However, I know more struggles will come and that they will mature me as God works in us.

  13. I struggle with anxiety and depression every day. It has gotten worse over the last 6 weeks. I try to be thankful that God is with me through this bit still the struggle is real. God promises He will never leave us not forsake is but the devil will just not leave me alone.

    1. Praying for you Mary ♥️ Jesus loves you and no one will snatch you out of His hand- because the FATHER has given us to him.

    2. praying for you also Mary. May you find peace each and every day through God’s love and abundant resources just for you. He loves you. He loves you so much.

  14. My home was flooded years ago. I was a single woman with no family close by. Time and again, God met my needs without me even knowing what I needed! He was out ahead of me all the time. It wasn’t easy and I wouldn’t care to do it again but it was one of my most faith building experiences! I thank God for what I learned and am still so grateful for those people that stepped in to assist as well.

  15. I lost my completely disabled son almost two years ago, but it has made me stronger and more compassionate. God is good always!

  16. Yes the struggle is real when kids are very disrespectful, when your trying keep them out of trouble and your all they got..They take your kindness for weakness.

  17. I struggle with the realization that God shifted me from my career to my call. Acceptance of not being able to re enter the workforce has been a struggle. Painfully, I search for meaning and purpose. Today’s reading and response filled my heart with hope.

  18. I see several family members struggling with very hard issues right now. Our whole family is struggling. I know God is in control but I’m struggling from all the hurting going on. I’m praying for God’s will in each and every situation.

  19. Five years ago was attacked by a homeless woman when I was downtown. Suffered months of physical therapy and counseling. God used this to help me heal from my past by having a Christian counselor walk me through scripture and this cemented my faith in God. God took a tragedy and turned it into a victory.

  20. I almost lost my daughter to drug addiction, but God saved her! She went to 3 rehabs and the third was a charm! She found her faith there and came home and fought hard to stay clean….she just celebrated 5 years on April 4, 2024! God was with her the entire time and I prayed my rosary every chance I got! I thank Him and praise Him every day!! She is now engaged to be married to her soulmate, who has a little girl, so they have a beautiful family of 4! My daughter has a son who is 9 and stepdaughter who is 6. I have a daughter who is 33, soon to be 34 in July! She is totally blind, lives on her own in her own house that she bought in a really nice neighborhood. She has a great job and loves her house….she is very determined! God is so good!

  21. This hits home with me. I lost my husband of 30 years just a few years after adopting three children later in life. My husband was our rock, our provider, who we all looked to for support. , Now, at almost 57 am a single mom to three kids (I also have three grown children), one with special needs. To say I have struggled is an understatement but I can see how much stronger I am for it. I am working, going to college and now the rock for my children. I miss my husband tremendously but I thank God daily for getting me through this and all my many blessings!

  22. Thank you Sharon for this message today, and your faithful encouragement each week.
    I have had quite a few struggles in my lifetime. Taking care of my family when my mother had breast cancer, (we were overseas as a military family) I was 16.
    Divorce and being a single mom to 3 children( their father chose not to be in their life)
    A son with a crack addiction going to prison for 15 yrs.
    Taking care of my mother with Alzheimer’s for 8 yrs.
    But in all of this, this has only deepened my relationship with Jesus, and He has been with me every step of the way! Thank you Jesus!
    So yes the gift of struggle makes us stronger Christian women!
    God Bless you all.

    Debbie L

  23. When my husband was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Luekemia). We spent months in the hospital with his treatment & later a life saving transplant…the Lord was there through that storm! There were ups & many downs. That is when our faith came alive & we felt the Lord present through it all! Praise our mighty God that was in 2014, 10 years ago.🙏

  24. My momma died when I was 9 years old. God showed up for me in a personal way through that trial. I am definitely stronger and more resilient because of that experience. Jesus drew me to Himself and I found my wonderful Savior. I can say to people who suffer a huge loss that they will be okay. The Lord will sustain them and keep them from drowning in sorrow if they let Him. Those who do not know Jesus get to hear about how I survived immense tragedy with His help. God allows trials and hardships to happen to us so that we can comfort others who will go through similar circumstances. God uses our past experiences for good if we let Him.

  25. Hello Sharon,

    I am so thankful for your great insight.

    This message was a pushing agent for me today, especially when you illustrated: the testing of your faith produces perseverance. This is so powerful, and we do grow through, what we go through. That is awake up call for us to embrace, face the struggle, or storms and not run from. God is in control, and we need to lean on him. We are so Blessed!

  26. My heart is breaking because my daughter and grandson are being abandoned by her husband. She holds to the faith, praise God. He has turned his back on that as well. It is horrifying to find her in this terrible position, and I have no words to comfort her besides “God has a perfect will for your life- hang on!” To see her precious heart crushed over & over by this person is almost more than I can bear, and sometimes my prayers that the Lord bring him back into the fold just become rage. Prayers and wisdom so needed—

  27. My dear cousin’s 21 year old son was in an 4 wheeling accident two nights ago and didn’t make it. Reading this beautiful message about struggles has me thinking about what I could say to my cousin. I’m not sure how to console my cousin during this difficult time. There seems to be no words. Maybe you can help.

  28. I have a neurological illness. I’ve had it since 1995. If I never had gotten sick then I wouldn’t be able to depend on God. I wouldn’t also have faith in God. I would have been doomed all my life and never see the light. I have been struggling most of my life. Over the years God has been the one healing me in His own time and pace. I’ve tried taken matters in my own hands only to find out that I need to be still and let God make/do the move. Through it all God has been faithful and in control. I just need to believe and trust Him. He paved the way and i need to look at the cross. satan has been attacking me and trying to make me veer off the path. Sometimes he wins. Sometimes he loses. I need to be in the Word at all times. That will help me win the battle with satan. I just have to remember that Jesus conquered death, satan, and sin. satan has no power over me. I know that if I focus on Jesus i won’t fall. In this race called life, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Thank You Jesus for all that You do. Because of You, I have hope and a future. I Love You Jesus.

  29. The estrangement from my adult children for the past 14 years has been a huge struggle in my life. The Lord has taught me so much while on this journey. One is, “that HE is enough”. He fills all the linely moments with HIS presence and gives me purpose to continue until we are reunited again.

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