Why Must We Struggle?

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Hi A____,

Your story here is my story. When Sandi and I were in the World Wide Church of God, paying 1st, 2nd and every third year a third tithe, everything seemed to go along fairly well. Later after we came out of that church, we did even better.
But when God finally began to crush my pride, He stripped me of my house, my work and along the way any desire to become what this world considers to be materially successful, and instead He began to make me spiritually wealthy. I simply could not deny what I was seeing in His Word. So I have been where you are, and I struggled through those times, and I have learned the true meaning of “seeking first the kingdom of God”.
After explaining how your sister seems to be physically blessed while you physically struggle, you ask me:

I want you to read Jer 43 and 44, and pay very close attention to these verses in chapter 44:

Jer 44:16  As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.
Jer 44:17  But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for [ then] had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.
Jer 44:18  But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
Jer 44:19  And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?

When you see the phrases “the works of your hands”, and “burn incense unto other gods”, just realize that these phrases are speaking of “idols of our hearts”, which do not come out of us except with great struggles in our heavens.

Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

These people in Jeremiah and this war in heaven in Rev 12 are within you and me. We are mystified by God’s ways. We had our spouses (“our men”) when we were in Babylon, and observing her traditions, but since we have forsaken this world, it seems we don’t even have our spouse. Everything is so very hard to bear.
But whom the Lord loves He chastens and scourges every son [ or daughter] He receives. If you were not struggling, I would be worried. As long as you are struggling, God is working His will in your life, and as you grow in Him, you will become like Paul and Silas who when beaten, rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake. That is what is happening in your spiritual life, and it is a “wonderful work to the children of men” (Psa 107).
Read those chapters in Jeremiah, and if you are still wondering what is going on, then get back to me.

Your brother in Christ.
Mike

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