For When You Struggle: How Wolves Change Rivers

If you wrestle with any particular, longstanding struggle, then chances are you (like me) have asked yourself: "Why does God continue to let me struggle?"

Doesn't He love me? Does He just sit back and watch for entertainment value?

My entire adult life I have struggled with consistently following a healthy lifestyle. On occasion, amidst moments of extreme frustration and self-loathing, I've literally pounded my fist and shouted:

"WHY DON'T YOU TAKE THIS AWAY, GOD? I've asked, begged, and pleaded
only to have this painful thorn remain in my side. DON'T YOU CARE ABOUT ME?"

Earlier this week, I listened to a podcast that provided the clearest, between-the-eyes answer to my recurring question. Ben Stuart of Breakaway Ministries leads a weekly evening Bible study on the campus of Texas A&M University that draws thousands of college students each week 

In this teaching, Ben addressed painful, destructive struggles such as pornography, alcoholism, and insecurity. Even though he was speaking to the young college men, the message applies unilaterally. 

On Monday, I had been facing a particularly tough day in my area of struggle. AGAIN. God put this podcast on my radar in the very moment when I was at a crossroads -- Do I give up or try again? After listening to this podcast ... I'm not giving up.

God is so faithful to provide precisely the encouragement we need exactly when we need it. 

God used Ben's clear teaching from Hebrews 12 to change my mindset. A video clip that Ben included in his teaching provided a fresh perspective on how I view struggle in four minutes flat. It's called How Wolves Change Rivers. [Click "play" on the picture above.]

When it comes to building strength, character and perseverance, God permits hungry wolves into our sheltered lives, metaphorically speaking. My constant struggle with leading a healthy lifestyle defines my wolf. Some days it feels like a big, voracious pack of them.

These wolves will devour me whole unless I shrug off the false bravado, admit my weakness, and lean into God's perfect strength. And in the leaning He will open my jaded eyes and see the harvest of good He promises to bring forth from this pain.

The truth is, the pack can howl, stalk and circle, but the wolves will never take me down as long as I keep my eyes plastered on Jesus.  

If you are weary of fighting against a particular struggle in your life, you need to hear Ben's podcast. If you have a friend who struggles, they need to hear it. I've downloaded it onto my phone so that I can listen to it over and over and over and OVER.


My struggle will still rear its ugly head simply because the enemy intends it for my destruction. But in His infinite love, God uses my greatest struggle to forge an iron strong faith and tenderhearted compassion. And in doing so, enables me to effectively conquer it and reach out to others who struggle. Because He promises:

God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? … God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7, 10-11)

How do you handle your most painful, recurring struggles? 


  1. Dear Donna,
    Very interesting a good lesson in what happens when our ecosystem is off balance and what can transpire because of it. The wolves of life..... I think of them as a driver. Yes, we all have our struggles and some days I think I have a wolf or two at bay but lest I get too proud of my accomplishments, the wolves are back in earnest shortly thereafter!! They drive me in the direction I ought to go, thier pursuit keeps me focused on my Help in the the Lord and they keep me humble as I realize I can not get through my struggles with out the hand of the One Who created and redeemed me to be sanctified for good works!!
    A neat thing to ponder this AM as I press onward and upward today!!!
    Bless you Donna!

    1. Thanks for your insights, Betty. If you have a chance to listen to the podcast, I'd love to hear your thoughts from that, as well. Blessings!

  2. Donna, thank you for your post. When I'm struggling, I am honest with God. With my most recent struggle I knew God wanted me to accept the thing I couldn't accept. So I was honest with Him and basically said that I couldn't do it, I didn't want to do it... but I wanted to want His way so He was going to have to give the grace to do that.

    1. Sharla, you hit the nail on the head. Honesty truly is the best policy. God knows our struggles anyway, but there's something about putting words to them in confession and prayer. Thanks for that great reminder, my Friend.

  3. Donna,
    I loved the podcast I love how Ben, stressed how we struggle AS sons and we struggle BECAUSE we are sons!!! It is at the precise point of our struggle that we see God's love for us!! When we cease to struggle it is frightening because we quite possibly could be out of favor with God so sin is no longer a struggle we just indulge!! So true, too, that it is in the struggles we grow and see the hand of God. So often I too have prayer for deliverence from the struggles of life but then I cease to grow in my walk. Sure it is hard to rejoice through the struggle but it is in the storm of struggle that we find the greatest peace.
    Great post today! Ben is a dynamic speaker!

    1. Betty, I agree with you completely. We struggle AS sons (daughters) precisely BECAUSE we're sons (daughters). God never leaves us to struggle on our own, but provides the encouragement and strength we need to persevere. Yes, Ben is a powerful teacher!