Will hardship help?
10What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! 11Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. 12While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!
Paul is wise. Paul sees the bigger picture. Paul is not blinded by the storms rushing over him one after the other. He does not allow the storm winds to hold him back. No, he sees where all this fits into God’s picture of him. He realises that his present suffering will help him understand others who are suffering. It keeps him grounded and he knows that God uses his suffering in His honour. People are plucked from the claws of evil and repent. Fantastic! He would carry all that suffering on his shoulders even if only one person repents. How wise this is.
I struggle to accept that God is working on me when life is just so hard. We all struggle. Connie says:
I’ve experienced this so many times in my life. Sometimes I feel like dying so tired am I. Sometimes I struggle with so many spiritual problems. Then the Holy Spirit shows me other people’s needs and I ask in prayer “Lord, You know I can hardly stand; how do You expect me to carry others as well?”
But I obey and do what the Lord asks me to do, even though I sometimes feel emptied out, whether financially or spiritually, by praying for other loved ones. But I keep on going and only look forward, keeping my eye on the biggest prize waiting in heaven, there where the Lord Jesus will give me rest and peace and quiet and mercy by His side when I meet Him in person.
For me, this makes all the suffering on earth worthwhile, because there is a lot of pain, misery and hardship here on earth, not only for me, but for everybody around me.
Pain and hurt and suffering pick holes in your life, but maybe it would help if we looked at it through the same glasses as Paul and Connie did. In a way God is working on us through the hardship so that we can help others.
This is precisely what Casting Crowns sings about in their song, Just Be Held:
Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on
And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Maybe this one is for you …
Can you see God’s plan?
Lord, in times of suffering it is often difficult to see others’ hurt. Thank you, for making it possible for me up to now, to even in times of hardship look away from myself and support others. You know how I feel. Amen