There are a billion (slight hyperbole) examples of women in the Bible that we can study and learn from.  I love that, and it’s one of the reasons I’ve spent the last few months looking at them on Wednesdays.  The women in Scripture have a lot to teach us.

But you know who’s not in the Bible that I really wish were?  Someone exactly like me.  Someone who grew up in the church, became a Christian at a young age, wrestled with some things and came back to the Lord, still wrestles with some things…

We get a lot of snippets of women in the Bible, but there’s not really any character that we get to follow throughout her whole life; certainly none that we see on a daily basis.  Other than Jesus, there aren’t even any male characters we get to see the whole way through – some of the kings, maybe, and Moses.

Perhaps, David is the best example – we see him as a shepherd boy, then killing Goliath, then as fugitive, then as king, then as father.  But other than the glaring sin of adultery with Bathsheba, David kinda seems to have it all together.  Sure, he laments his fate in the Psalms, but ultimately, he stays pretty tight with God throughout his whole life.

I want to see the Bible character who really struggles through his (or preferably her) faith.  Who isn’t necessarily committing the big, notorious, make-it-into-the-Bible sins, but who agonizes over wondering why, if God really loves her, she doesn’t quite feel that way.  Or who trudges through the questions of why she isn’t married or doesn’t have children or has lost a loved one.  Someone who questions what it actually means to live “in” the world, but not “of” it, and maybe sometimes (often) fails at that.  Someone who legitimately “works out her salvation with fear and trembling”, and in the end, comes out victorious.

That’s a person I could really relate to.  I take encouragement from the snippets of stories we read in the Bible, and glean the appropriate applications.  But, really, there’s no one just like me.   So, sometimes, I feel a little alone in my struggles – like I’m completely dropping the ball, while all the other good Christians out there are winning gold stars on their heavenly report cards.

Of course I know that’s not the case. I realize that no one is perfect, and that even David committed more than just the one sin recorded in Scripture. But wouldn’t it be nice to really see an example of the struggle?  To have someone to look to that did have doubts and questions and difficulties, and yet overcame?  Someone whose spiritual journey wasn’t just rainbows and butterflies and unwavering faith?

While that person may not exist in the Bible, God does still manage to find ways to encourage me when I’m, well, discouraged.

If you haven’t read the devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, I highly recommend it.  Each day’s reading is short and sweet, but always so uplifting.  Here are some excerpts from yesterday’s (July 14) entry:

Keep walking with Me along the path I have chosen for you.  Your desire to live close to Me is a delight to My heart. I could instantly grant you the spiritual riches you desire, but that is not My way for you. Together we will forge a pathway…the journey is arduous at times, and you are weak. Someday you will dance light-footed on the high peaks; but for now your walk is often plodding and heavy. All I require of you is to take the next step, clinging to My hand for strength and direction…

What I most appreciated about this devotion was the acknowledgement and validation that it’s okay for me to struggle.  God knows my walk is hard; He knows that I want to be close to Him and don’t feel like I am sometimes.  But, He’s not about instant gratification, and, to paraphrase my favorite verse, He knows I will reap a harvest if I will not give up (Galatians 6:9).

So, while we may not have a true Biblical example of a real-life journey, I hope perhaps the lessons I’m learning will be encouraging to you.  Or, if not mine specifically, that you can find your own Jesus Calling – a devotional that speaks to your heart – and some examples of other people who have been there, done that, lived imperfect lives, and still managed to keep going, reaping a harvest all along the way.

Who inspires you in your walk?  Have you found a Biblical example you can really relate to, or do you more closely look to other mentors and leaders as examples?  What are some of the ways you keep yourself motivated when the going gets tough?  I’d love to hear from you!