The Struggle (4)
Several years ago, I saw a movie about John Forbes Nash, Jr., Nobel Prize winner. Not being familiar with this man’s life, I am not prepared to say what liberties Hollywood took in telling the story. But there was a message that really hit home with me. Nash was a genius…but a troubled one. He suffered from severe psychological disorders, which sidelined him for long periods in his life. He was delusional. His mind convinced him of the existence of three imaginary people.
The story unfolds in an absorbing way as Nash learns to cope with his “insanity.” The accepted medical treatment at the time, left him unable to feel and function as his family and his work required. He came up with an alternative solution that didn’t involve drugs. He had been used to thinking his way to the solutions of mathematical problems. Why not, he reasoned, use logic to solve his present dilemma. He was finally able to resume a useful place in society by refusing to acknowledge the imaginary people. However, these people never go away for Nash. He is regularly able to see them even in his older age. He simply refuses to respond to them. His victory over his affliction was really an unceasing struggle to focus on the real and ignore the unreal which at times clamored for his acknowledgement. The story became a parable for me.
By this time in my Christian life, it has become apparent to me that victory in Jesus looks a lot different than I had at first expected. I thought that temptation would eventually lose its power over me, if I only did the right things. Now I know that there is a continuing struggle for all Christians. There are some problems, perhaps even many problems, that never go completely away. Our challenge is to not focus on them. We make it our aim not to respond to some things that have a powerful pull on our hearts. The Apostle Paul said, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen…” (2 Corinthians 4:18a). And we can only do this by faith. We have to deal with things that are seen somehow. We have to experience them. We may have to hurt over them. But we don’t have to continually focus on them. There is Another focus for us. We may fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). We are not going to go through life unscathed.We are not going to always look or feel like winners. We will not experience uninterrupted bliss or unhindered progress in this life. But we will not be alone. We will not be forsaken. We will be loved. We will be forgiven. We will be wanted. We will have a reason for going on. We will be heaven bound.
We need to learn to be honest about our struggles…not so as to drag others down, but to allow others to see they are not alone as they feared they were. We choose, in the midst of fierce struggles, to see more than the struggles. We choose to see Jesus Christ. We choose to love Him and serve Him. We learn that many times He delivers us “in” our struggles and not “from” them for His own holy purposes. So, brothers and sisters, struggle on, looking not at what is seen but at what is unseen. For this is part of what is meant when the Bible says, “We walk by faith and not by sight.”
Will you pledge yourself, along with me, to unceasing resistance to all that would lead us away from the Savior Who died for love of us and lives to see us home with Him? Struggle on with good hope!