Nouwen on Surviving the Struggle of Life

The danger of individualism often exposes itself in struggle. Christian traditions flowing out of the Reformation place such a premium on “preisthood of all believers” the tendency is toward a hyper-individualism. Such a move gives me the privilege of “interpreting for myself,” “deciding for myself,” and “being responsible only to/for myself.” The island we create gets lonely when in our interpretation of life, deciding my own fate, and limiting the scope of my actions to myself results in “nothing and nobody waiting” with/for me/us in the midst of deep pain and hurt.

Nouwen wrote,

A man can keep his sanity and say alive as long as there is at least one person who is waiting for him. The mind of man can indeed rule his body even when there is little health left. A dying mother can stay alive to see her son before she gives up the struggle, a soldier can prevent his mental and physical disintegration when he knows that his wife and children are waiting for him. But when “nothing ad nobody” is waiting, there is not chance to survive in the struggle for life.” (quoted from A Guide to Prayer for Minsters and Other Servants, p.78)

It is too easy to say in some sort of supra-spiritual turn a person may survive the struggle with Jesus when it is precisely the model of Scripture that Jesus shows up in the person of a “somebody.” Who will you journey with during the struggles of life so they may survive the depths of pain?

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.