Job’s friends suggested his life was shattered because of sin. Sometimes people think that following God provides some sort of immunity against problems. Which can lead to the thought that when people suffer it’s their fault. Let’s look at that.
First, let me tell you a story. Near the beginning of the summer my husband’s car started making a weird ee-ee-ee sound. So the car had a visit with the mechanic. Then I came home from work to find the air conditioner making a whishhhhh sound. When I looked at the coils in the closet it was frozen over like something from Narnia. Hello AC repairman. A little while later I was mowing the yard with our one year old push mower and there was a CLANK when I ran over the water meter. Oops.
So, a new lawn mower blade and I was back in business. Until a half hour later when there was a clickclickclick and I thought ok, I’ll let it cool off for a minute. Guess what? Wouldn’t start back. Fine. I still had a weedeater. I can whack grass with the best of ’em. So I carried it out to where the lawnmower gave up and started tugging on the pull cord. Wanna guess what sound it made? None. Let me tell you, I was pretty agitated by that point. A couple weeks later, thanks to the generosity of our family, we have a working lawnmower again. Bad news is last week, the washing machine started making a beepbeepbeep and doesn’t drain properly. Sigh.
You could say it’s been a rough summer, and that’s just the appliance side of our stress, not to mention finances, work, and ministry excitement. If having trials means you’re doing something wrong with your life, then I must be messing up really badly.
So what does God have to say? Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” If the people closest to Jesus were going to suffer, what else can we expect?
Paul understood suffering. He was stoned, beaten, shipwrecked, and a lot of other things. Let’s look at what he wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” When we suffer, we depend more fully on God to get us through. For that reason, if for nothing else, we can always find a way to rejoice no matter what.
Maybe you feel like everything is piling up against you. Sometimes, I do too. That’s how life is. And you know something? It isn’t your fault. Sure, when we sin we have to deal with the consequences, but sometimes bad things just happen anyway.
God promises us that we won’t cry or struggle or suffer, but that isn’t until Heaven. For now, let’s laugh, cry, and pray with each other through this wild ride called life while we wait for what God really wants for us.
How about you? Going through something? I’ll be praying for you, reader.
May the Lord bless and keep you,