Read at least Philippians 1:29. The question in my Bible study book reads: "Are all struggles gifts?" My mind immediately started quoting James 1:2-4, "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (Thanks to Sunday School and WOL and AWANA.) So my answer is "yes, all struggles are gifts." In our struggles, even those of our own making, we find God to be more than we knew He was or could be. Since I believe this to be true, why do I resist struggles/trials? Why don't I embrace them as proof first, that I need God? and second, that this is an opportunity for growth--to be drawn closer to the heart of God (like the sign in our foyer says)? Dan recently changed the wording to "Let every tension (instead of inconvenience) be an invitation into the heart of God.
Do I want to be close to the heart of God? or do I want to be comfortable, free from pain, happy making this world my home? Sounds like a hard choice...but my heart longs to be close to His heart. Because of the lengths God and His Son went through for me, I am bought...heart, soul, and mind. Sometimes I think that I want to be left alone to prosper here and be carefree, but my heart shows that I am not my own and hungers for a closer relationship with Him. And that relationship means that I will be stretched and feel suffering.