Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, describes suffering as this pressing weight that comes on you. Life has a way of doing this crazy thing, especially if you are following Jesus, where the little weights that you feel like you can handle begin to feel like million-pound weight on your shoulders. Paul knows that struggles can just feel as if they’re overwhelming or crushing you. But Paul wants the readers to know that this suffering is going lead them to perseverance.
When the weight of struggles and difficulties come on you, when you lean into God, when you find yourself at the end of yourself and you rely the power of the Holy Spirit, when you're walking in the way of the King, then something happens inside of you where God starts building you into something stronger than you ever dreamed. Those things that seem like they were just weighing you down, start becoming like weight training. They become the things that start building you up.
We never go through struggles without God being aware and present throughout them. In our free will, we have the choice to either lean into him or walk away when things in life start to get really tough, which they do for all of us at some point. God designed us and yearns for us to come to him when struggles and suffering occur to he can lighten the weight and use those experiences to strengthen you and build you into a warrior of his Word and his mission.
Reflection/Discussion Question: When you go through struggles, do you tend to lean into God or try to handle things on your own?