I never suspected it. She seemed to have her life together, at least
the outset . She had been assisting me on a project we started this semester and had been the most accommodating of people and receptive to spiritual things. Last week, when I saw her at Burman, I remembered that I’d failed to mention something to her. So I went up to her, completely oblivious to her unusually sullen face, and started jabbering on about what I’d wanted from her regarding another initiative. When I ended, she was still looking at the ground. As if all what I’d told her had just vanished into thin air, she looked at me and confessed that she had been struggling with an alcohol problem for a long time.
On this campus, I reckon most of us, at some point or the other, assume the other person is doing OK just because they go to an Adventist institution. I mean, at least they are not “out in the world” right? As long as you see him in PMC once in a while, as long as she’s a committed member of that singing group, or as long as they say the right things, do the right things, and act the right way, they are fine. Right?
We all struggle, someway or the other. Since the devil is no respecter of persons, and sin is no respecter of souls, we all struggle. In his 2nd epistle, the apostle Peter likens the intensity of this struggle as a “war waging within the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). In Romans 7, Paul helplessly vents to his beloved audience about his own internal war: the battle between the things that he wants to do and the things that he should do. Even Jesus, our Savior and example, struggled through Gethsemane before tarrying towards the cross.
So let’s bring it home. No matter who we are and what our background is, the truth is that everyone struggles. This has implications for us right here, right now. This now means that I cannot look down on someone just because they sin differently from me. This means that if I actually happen to look down on someone, it will only be to carry his or her burdens thereby fulfilling the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1). This means that we have all the more reason to be vulnerable and transparent with those who have earned our trust and struggle together as a community of faith to press on toward the ultimate goal of Jesus Christ.
This means that I don’t have to put on a façade anymore. I don’t have to pretend. I don’t have to fake it anymore. This means that even if I can’t find another to confide in on this campus (God forbid!), I can come to God with all my weaknesses and failures for he alone can make all things new through Jesus.
For all it’s worth, the struggle itself is a sign of life. So let’s keep living. Let’s keep struggling. Together.