“God never promises to remove us from our struggles. He does promise, however, to change the way we look at them.”Max Lucado
I read this quote the other day and it really made me think. There are a lot of Christians who think by being a Christian, they’re immune to heartache in life. Many believe that if their life and heart is right with God, they will go through this life unscathed. Seriously, there are many who claim to follow Christ and believe this. Clearly they either one, haven’t been a Christian very long, or two, haven’t read much of the Bible. Watch and listen to some of these big-name “preachers” who love to promote what’s called “Prosperity gospel.” They will tell you that it’s God’s will for you to be financially wealthy and never face adversity. But their doctrine is warped and false. I promise whoever is reading this, regardless of how great a Christian you or others think you are, heartache and trials will come. It is inevitable! There are God-fearing men and women right this instant who are dealing with loss. There are pastors and ministers who are dealing with illness or disease.
Your struggle will eventually come. I don’t write that to scare you, but rather to be real and honest. I’ve been a Christian since I was four years old. Now I will also admit that I haven’t followed Christ since that age. I went through periods in my life where much of what I did resembled someone who doesn’t follow Christ. I messed up a lot. You know what else? I still do!
I am not immune to trials, tribulations, and life’s problems; much of which I have brought upon myself by my own actions. I come from a home with two very loving parents, but my parents divorced when I was a teenager. I was married at a young age, but my spouse decided to leave our seven year old daughter and I after nine years of a very turbulent and unhappy marriage. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of thirty-seven. I’ve had, do have, and will have my share of tribulation in life.
God never once in Scripture promised an easy ride through life to anyone who follows Him. Joseph’s brothers envied and hated him so much that they plotted to kill him. Instead they sold him into slavery. Daniel was thrown into a den of lions and left to be devoured. Abraham almost sacrificed his own son. Paul was beaten, threatened, and imprisoned. Men were crucified upside down. Stephen was stoned to death. Jesus Himself was nailed to a cross. John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded. I could go on and on with a list of faithful followers of Christ, but they would all lead to one point: God never once promises His followers that they won’t endure hardship and suffering. When Christ was on earth, He even told His disciples that they would be hated for His sake. These were men in Jesus’ inner circle!
So if Christians aren’t safe from life’s many trials, then what? How do we cope when they come along? I’m so glad you asked.
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”1 Peter 1:6-7, King James Version
We don’t have to face the problems in life as one who is without Christ. Is it still hard? You bet it is. Do we still get discouraged? Absolutely. But we can look at the various trials of life through a different lens, because we have hope not in the things of this world, but rather the things to come after this life. We have faith that the same God who spoke the universe into existence, raised the dead, and healed sick, isn’t a God so far removed that He is unable or unwilling to finish the work He started. If this wasn’t the truth, He wouldn’t be God. You and I might as well at that point place our faith and trust in the clerk at the local grocery store.