Recently, I’ve been fascinated at how God uses Satan’s tools and the weakness(es) of our fallen human nature to bring us closer to Him. He uses the tendency toward anxiety to teach trust, impatience to teach patience and trials to show us our sin and all the ways we need Him. This falls in with the Rom. 8:28 principle that all things are not good, but God brings good through them for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. It parallels a book I’ve been reading recently. “The Obstacle is The Way” by Ryan Holiday. Some of his suggestions are unbiblical because he’s secular but reading his book has challenged me in considering whether I really believe that God is always working good in trials — often in the very areas I’m struggling with.
Obstacles and struggle grow us much more than an easy life. (see Theodore Roosevelt’s Strenuous Life speech). Holiday’s basic argument is that obstacles are not disadvantages, but actually advantages. That in a disadvantage, there is always an advantage. Elite athletes that are injured improve in the same areas they struggled most with. In many cases they are better off having been injured than not in terms of gratitude and similar metrics. Obviously, there is a limit. I have set goals for a week that should have been my goal for the year, which was incredible discouraging. But choosing God-sized objectives that we cannot accomplish on our own is commendable. We need wisdom from God’s word and mentors to help show us the difference. This principle is true of the Christian life. Without the constant battle against sin, we might feel that we don’t need God. I often find that temptation to sin is often the very trigger that God uses to draw me to God.