Contrary to popular belief, God prefers the carrot over the stick to motivate his people. God is fully aware of how difficult life can be for us. Health issues, relationship issues, financial issues, boredom, worldly temptations, persecution, and the guilt associated with sin and failure can all overwhelm us. Yet God is not surprised, nor are his plans thwarted by our struggles. Indeed, it is through our struggles that he can work powerfully.
One way God would have us ‘struggle well’ is by looking to what he has in store for his people in the future. This is why there is so much prophecy in the Bible. Knowing that this life is not all there is, that the struggles and difficulties have both a purpose and an end, and that God has something great in store for all who love him – these truths can help to change our perspective and our attitude, even in the worst of times.
When the Apostle Paul established the church in Thessalonica in the first century, he was forced to leave after three weeks. The church suffered persecution in his absence. When he was finally able to write to them, he peppered his small letter (First Thessalonians) with references to the second coming of Jesus, both for his people and then with his people. Indeed, every chapter of that book ends with such a reference (1:10, 2:19, 3:13, 4:13-18, 5:23). Knowing that Jesus is coming back to be with his people and reward them, helps Christians get through tough times.
So, friends, keep looking, praying, and waiting for the Lord’s return.