Life is hard. We are not guaranteed a life of ease just because we have died to self and followed Christ. We expect his hedge of protection and we often find hardship and pain in everyday life: we are involved in an auto accident, our job is lost, our health declines, our promotion falls through, our expenses exceed our income, our teenagers rebel and make poor choices that will affect the rest of their lives… It’s a burden, yes, and God wants us to cast our cares on him because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). We complain to God and let him know that we think this life is unfair and it stinks. Remember this, he is big enough to take all of our complaints, the Bible is full of people who questioned what God was doing in their lives (Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Job). There’s no sin in speaking out to God, but we need to get an eternal perspective.
I found this awesome message in a song called “Held” by Christian music artist Natalie Grant:
Two months is too little. They let him go.
They had no sudden healing.
To think that providence would take a child from his mother while she prays, is appalling.
Who told us we’d be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We’re asking why this happens to us who have died to live?
This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was when everything fell we’d be held.
This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred know our sorrow.
The wise hand opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow.
If hope is born of suffering.
If this is only the beginning.
Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?
When Bethany crashed on her bike years ago, she did not sit there on the driveway and complain that I did not care about her, that it was a bit casual of me to allow this to happen to her, or worse, that I sent this accident to teach her some sort of a lesson. She wanted daddy to run to her and hold her and reassure her that she was not alone and everything was going to be alright. Does not God do the same for us? Faith sustains us during the hard times of life, especially that this life is not all that there is.
I recently received this interesting story that puts hardships into perspective:
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.
One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out, “God! How could you do this to me?”
Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! “How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers. “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.
So, the moral of this story? It’s easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn’t lose heart, because God is still at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.