When you became a Christian, perhaps nobody told you that life would be just as difficult as it was before your conversion – perhaps even more difficult. Christians are certainly not immune to trials and tribulations.
What hope is there for the hurting? What hope is there for you? Let’s take a moment to look at the big picture of this messy thing we call “life.”
Consider Job: a “Blameless” Man Who Was Tormented
Job was a man who was “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” (Job 1:1 NIV)
You know the story. The Lord asked Satan to consider Job who was blameless and upright. The Lord was obviously very pleased with Job.
Satan believed that it was because the Lord blessed the work of Job’s hands that Job feared God (a type of fear that is a great sign of respect for the Lord).
So, the Lord allowed Satan to take away his blessings. Job lost his oxen, donkeys, sheep, servants, camels, sons, daughters, and eventually even his good health.
Here’s a man who walked blamelessly before God, and yet the Lord allowed him to suffer. How could this be? Well, Job’s “friends” had all kinds of ideas of why this might be the case. I encourage you to read through the Book of Job to wrestle with these difficult questions.
There are, however, a couple of lessons I’d like to point out here.
First, it’s obvious that bad things happen to “good” people. It’s a fact of life. I’m not saying we shouldn’t avoid pain and suffering when morally okay to do so, by all means, strive toward a better future! However, it can be helpful to accept pain and suffering when we have no choice. Acceptance can help us get through difficult circumstances.
Second, Job still honored the Lord despite his horrible circumstances. He didn’t sin by charging God with wrongdoing. After all, God is God, and God determines what is right – God is the ultimate judge and who are we to judge the Lord?
Consider the Apostles: Rejoicing in the Midst of Suffering
In Acts 5, we read about the apostles who were flogged because they were speaking in the name of Jesus. “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.” (Acts 5:41-42 NIV)
Notice how they did two things after being flogged: (1) they rejoiced because they were counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name and (2) they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
How Did They Do It?
The question that these two stories leaves me with is, “How can I be strong like Job and the apostles when I’m going through a difficult time?” I’ve certainly never been through the suffering that these people endured. What’s amazing to me is that their hearts were in the right place even during extreme suffering – perhaps with God’s help, no matter what I’m going through, I could still honor the Lord as well?
I hope I could. I bet you hope you could as well.
My suspicion is that those who can endure such difficult circumstances have great faith in the place Jesus went to prepare a place for them: Heaven. It’s my conviction that the more hope we have in spending eternity with our Lord, the easier it is to take our minds off the difficulties of this world.
Belief in life after death changes everything. Belief in Jesus paying the price for our sins gives us tremendous hope.
Let the reality of Heaven sink in for a moment. Keeping Heaven in mind, how does that change how you look at your present difficult circumstances? How does that change your view of suffering?
I think I know how it changes me. It gives me profound hope – hope for a beautiful new life the Lord has for me because of his grace and forgiveness.
I don’t have all the answers. All I know is, one day, for those who trust in Jesus the Messiah, God will wipe our tears away and bring us into a glorious communion with our Maker.
That, friends, should give us profound hope despite our temporary, difficult circumstances.
If you haven’t been following Christ and want a relationship with Him, please take a few moments to watch this video. Christians are simply those who realize they have rebelled against God, and accept God’s gift of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. If you want to give your heart to Jesus, be sure to let me know. God bless. – John
What difficulties are you going through? How do you view your circumstances? Leave a comment!