“God, where are you? Why haven’t you done ____________ for me yet?”
Have you ever asked a question like that before? I know I have.
I thought that following God and being a Christian would lead to a life that was kind of easy, filled only with joy, free from pain and sorrow. Silly me.
I’m not even sure where I got that idea but when I ask around, I find that most of the Christians I know have believed (or still believe) some version of that. After all, it sounds good, doesn’t it? It’s so appealing, this thought that if you are a true believer you are spared suffering.
It is also completely contrary to what the scriptures teach.
If Jesus was perfected through his suffering, who are we to think we won’t be perfected through the same means? (Hebrews 2:10)
Now don’t get me wrong. Jesus came that we might have life and life to the FULL. (John 10:10) It’s the JOY of the LORD that is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) It’s just that the JOY and the LIFE come to us in the midst of the easy and the hard, the triumphs and the travails. Christ sustains us and strengthens us but this is not Eden we find ourselves living in these days. We are not in Heaven. Not yet.
Life is hard.
Yes, life is hard, but it is also good.
I once read an article that was talking about the benefits of going through tough times. It was pointing out how some of the best rewards come on the other side of HARD.
I know many people, and I include myself in this, want God to deliver us from HARD. But I have been following Jesus for nearly 40 years now and I can say that most of the time, God does not deliver me from HARD. In fact, he would rather walk WITH me THROUGH the HARD.
I have learned that sometimes the purpose of prayer is to get us out of circumstances, but more often than not, the purpose of prayer is to get us through them.
And I know when hard times come, they seem to come in multiples. The car breaks, you have a massive fight with your spouse, and you’re told your son needs braces; all in the same week that you learn that your hours are getting cut at work. It can certainly appear that God is against you.
Life is hard.
Yes, life is hard, but just like God, it is also good.
God is not against you, he is for you. Maybe he is saying no to your prayers of deliverance, but he will never say no to walking with you as you go through them.
Remember, some of the best joys in life reside on the other side of hard.
Choose to follow Christ wherever he leads. If you do, that hard will lead to life and joy. Always. Even in the midst of suffering.