Jesus lived nearly the first thirty years of his life in relative obscurity. He lived in Nazareth, pretty much ignored and even looked down on by the rest. He shows up at the temple in Jerusalem at the age of twelve and wows the teachers there. But other than that we read nothing about him until he comes to his cousin John the Baptizer to be baptized.
Did Jesus encounter struggle during those silent years? We know he did struggle in the garden of Gethsemane. Surely he did so along the way in his life too; surely he struggled at times which prepared him for his encounter in the wilderness when he was tempted by the devil. We know Jesus was tempted in every way as we are with the difference being that he never sinned. Temptation was as real to Jesus as it is to us, but of course, temptation itself is not sin. Though we can in our sinfulness subject ourselves to unneccessary temptation, I believe.
What good comes out of our struggles? We can be tempted sorely in something that may seem trivial or another matter which is not trivial at all- knowing, of course that no sin however big or small is actually trivial. Though some can be catastrophic in our lives. What about when our hearts seem full of paralyzing and deadening fear? Or we can't shake the heaviness that seems to take the life right out of our "souls"?
I remember Dr. James Grier once telling us that he believed God looks higher on the Christian who is struggling and may not look pretty, but is maintaining their integrity before God and others, over the Christian who seems to be walking on air all the time (my paraphrase and additions to trying to get at the thought Dr. Grier was conveying). We read in Scripture that Paul struggled, and more importantly (in some ways) Jesus did so himself! I'm reminded of Job, and of many of the psalms. Their's was not some "happified" existence. Michael Card's recent book and musical album (both very good, by the way) both hit on this theme.
Only those who struggle can empathize with other strugglers. Only those who know what it's like to live in "the dark night of the soul", or are working through intellectual doubts, or feel in danger over some temptation, etc., etc., can empahthize with others. Even some failure can be good here, if we've known the grace, forgiveness and restoration of God along with that. And we all know failures along the way.
Struggles can also deepen our walk in God. They can drive us more to Scripture to meditate on and chant (as I like to do sometimes). And drive us more to God, in prayer and trust as well as learning a costly obedience. And as we continue on in God's way for us in Christ, these struggles can confirm us in the sense of more habituating us to that way as well as to more conformity to Jesus. And so much the better as we in Jesus seek to do this together. In fact we need each other, unless all the "one another" passages in the New Testament mean nothing.
What might you add here?