“Life sucks and then you die.”
That’s what my eccentric eighth grade science teacher used to say whenever one of us would complain about tests or homework. Although that statement is definitely harsh, sometimes it can feel true (just keeping it real).
I have a friend who’s in the fight of his life against a nasty cancer. I know people who have lost their parents and siblings. There are people struggling from hunger and homelessness. This isn’t shocking. This is life. And while there are many blessings in this life, there are also many hardships.
Why? Why does God allow this suffering? I’m pretty sure we have all asked this question at some point in our lives. I could go really deep into theology that even I don’t quite understand, but the simple answer is that we live in a fallen and sinful world (Genesis 3). The consequence of our sin is darkness and death (Romans 6:23).
This isn’t what God wants. That’s why He sent His one and only Son Jesus to die for us on a cross. When we ask for forgiveness for the wrongs we’ve done and believe in Jesus’ love for us, we are made new. So why doesn’t life become suddenly perfect?
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV).
Jesus knew that until He comes back for His church one day, there will always be suffering. But He never left us without a hope. God has conquered our problems–our diseases, our poverty, our struggles. He claimed victory over them on the cross.
We know the Bible says that problems are inevitable in life, and that Jesus has overcome them. But how can we really change our perception toward all of the hardships we face?
Let’s look at the apostle Paul, who wrote about having a “thorn” in his flesh that wouldn’t go away.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NIV).
This is the beauty of suffering. If we had it all together and were doing great, then we would never see our need for a Savior. We would never need to lean on God and get a taste of how powerful He truly is. If we never had a desperate moment, we would never experience a miracle.
This isn’t easy. We all go through things, and sometimes these hardships stick around longer than we’d like them to. For me, it’s been a chronic illness. Although I am doing quite well, I still face difficulties in my everyday life. But I’ve realized that if I had never gotten sick, then I probably wouldn’t have sought after God so hard. This blog might not even exist.
I do believe that God is healing me, but it’s in His timing–not mine. While I wait, His grace is sufficient for me. I have never known true strength until I found myself broken and needy before the Lord. I can do things through God that I could never do by myself!
And guess what lovely reader? You can too.
I don’t know your situation or your problems. I know there are people going through a lot worse than me, and my heart breaks for them. But I also know that God works all things for our good. Every struggle is an opportunity to lean on God and watch Him work a miracle in our lives.
I know that I need to work on trusting God–or else I wouldn’t have written a post on it. Will you join me in learning to trust in God more? I think that if we learn to lean on Jesus and view our struggles in the power of Christ’s victory, then we can have true joy and peace.
Although life can be hard, the struggles we face are not the final chapter. They are the key to seeing God work in mighty and miraculous ways.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
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