I once had a conversation with a friend in which we were discussing a mutual acquaintance and how well their life seemed to be going for them. In an effort to encourage my friend who seemed put down by this, as they were going through a difficult time in their lives -I made mention of the fact that no ones life is perfect and that we all face difficulties. To which my friend replied that they would much rather have the ‘difficulties’ of said aquaintance.
In all honesty, at that moment, I couldn’t relate any more to my friends honest confession. So much that, I left the conversation at that, not knowing what I could say to encourage her (or us both, really).
I too had thought about it a few times before, that some people seem to have ‘nicer problems’, riding through life smoothly while some others have to struggle to get even the smallest bit of sunshine. The smallest little setback can seem like a huge deal to an easy rider whilst one going through a more bumpy ride may see it as miniature.
Fast forward to a few months later, I am reminded of this spirit crushing conversation that my friend and I had. In a bid to understand this ‘injustice’, I came across an article on psalm 73:13-14.
The author spoke of how the psalms are refreshingly honest and that they do not give a false view that if one is a believer then their life will be trouble free and they will be constantly singing praises of joy. Of course this does not mean that God is unworthy of our praise in times of difficulty. We are to be a people of praise -despite our difficulties.
When like Asaph, we compare our insufficiencies and misfortunes to the comforts or good fortunes of those around us, it is easy to think “I want want they have”.
For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
These desires stem from envy, and if we take a deeper look at this, we see that in our envy we begin to doubt the wisdom and goodness of God. This is why we hear a lot of statements such as “If God is good or if God loves me, then why has He allowed so and so to happen?”
In turn, we begin to doubt the promises of God and our faith may begin to waver. When in fact, what we should do in times such as this is to remind ourselves of these promises.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
We will not always (might never) understand why God allows us to go through certain trials, but it is important to understand that all things work for the good of those who love Him. This profound truth should give us hope when we face difficulties, keeping in mind that everything is under God’s sovereign authority and plan.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
God wants us to trust Him in the face of trials and to understand that they are not meaningless and without purpose.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
We should put our hope and trust in Him “who is too loving to be unkind and too wise to err” (R.C Sproul, the essential truths of Christian faith).
Knowing that God is sovereign and that nothing happens that He has not willed should be a source of great comfort to us as believers, that even in times of difficulty, we will give God praise because we know that nothing stands outside the scope of His sovereign control.
Nothing can withstand His power. Let us look only to God and forward to an eternity in His presence so that even the struggles of this world will not shake us so much that we begin to lose sight of fact that He is a God worthy of our praise.
Let us treasure God above everything else, knowing that He is our future hope and greatest treasure.
Romans 12:12 tells us to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Soli Deo Gloria.