God's word in today's world

Pills, forms and hardship


I sometimes wonder why the journey of faith is so difficult, because there is definitely no guarantee of an easy road for those who follow Jesus. On the contrary, things are often so rough that I fear the boat will capsize. No, much worse! It sometimes feels as if the boat has capsized and that I will drown in the enormous waves any minute now.

But when I think of what Jesus had done for me on the cross, I know that He loves me far too much to let me go.

Maybe we’ve forgotten how to deal with hardship in a society where everything can be treated in an instant. If you’re ill, you pop a pill. If you lack money, you complete a form at the bank and continue buying.

There is an instant solution for every problem. But there are no instant solutions for the struggles on God’s life’s journey. There are no pills and no forms that can fix this. No, on this journey our faith is tested to the utmost.

It’s just that some people’s journeys contain more hardship than others.

But the struggles should not get the better of us. Also, it should not discourage us. No, it must light a fire within us, because God accompanies us on this journey. Through the hardship and struggle He is working on you and me and we will definitely be changed when we reach the other side.

But it is certainly not easy and it sometimes feels like cheap comfort to me. While I’m struggling, I don’t want to hear that God is working on me so that I can become more and more like Him. It is simply too hard and too painful.

Maybe we can learn something from the people of Thessalonica, so that someone can boast about us too one day: 4We’re so proud of you; you’re so steady and determined in your faith despite all the hard times that have come down on you. We tell everyone we meet in the churches all about you.

We should not become discouraged. We must simply accept the fact that God is working on us, and we must keep on believing that He knows best. We must know that we will get through this too and that God will never leave us.

Later we will be able to look back and see that God was working. We will see that we have changed. We will see that other people have changed, because we have changed. And we will see that God didn’t leave us even for one moment.

Hardship is a regular part of a Christian’s life. That is how the gears of life work. The question is not whether it will get us somewhere. No, the question is how we will deal with it when it happens.

Is my faith strong enough to withstand suffering or have I become too used to the good carefree life that we are cultivating for ourselves?

Remember that hardship and tests are part of the package and non-negotiable. And unfortunately, there is no fast-working tablet that we can take for it. There is no form that you can complete so that your life can continue as usual.

My mother lost her husband at 50. With six children and all the challenges that come with it. She didn’t lie down and wait for things to get better. She didn’t scram questions to the heavens. No, for the first time in her life she went out to earn a living and started working to keep the food on the table. Her faith in her God was the rock that she held onto.

We don’t have all the answers. Anyone can suffer hardship and it arrives with no prior notice. God will go through it with you. God will even change a negative into a positive. Bear it. Hold on. Keep fighting.

It’s not easy, but do try your best to remain standing and to remain believing.

Scripture

2 Thessalonians 1:3-6

Reflection

Have you been to the edge of despair?

What bridge do you have to cross to get through this?

Before you step onto the bridge, what do you have to leave there?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for never letting go of me. I know You take every step with me on this road of struggles. Please teach me to keep holding on like the people of Thessalonica and to keep believing that You are good and that You will help me through this. Amen.

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