There’s no glossing over the fact that the world we are living in today can be a difficult and hurt-inducing one. Christians can be reassured, however, that the world is indeed a temporary place. In Revelation 21:4, the Scripture speaks of a “new earth” and place of no tears, crying or pain. But the reality it seems a majority of the time is when we watch the news or reflect on our own lives or both, the prospect of such a new and hopeful future can be even more difficult to imagine.
We can acknowledge that many Christians may be struggling as they try to live by their faith, either due to personal difficulties or because of any number of question-inducing points of human suffering that are evident around the world.
One could ask why life is so difficult for so many people, everywhere. If there is a God who cares about the people God supposedly created, then why are these points of suffering and injustice – like war, poverty, hunger, and death – so relentless?
Although these are indeed complex matters, God meets us in all of our humanity (Isaiah 41:10).
To restore or further strengthen your confidence in the Lord — to live in such a way that your faith is what you turn to first in all matters — here are some Scripture-based insights you could ponder.
Life is many things but “short-of-challenges” is not one of them. Jesus encouraged us, even commanded us, to take heart, for he had overcome the world (John 16:33). This truth is our reassurance and reminder that even though much of life won’t be easy, God is with us.
Trials have a way of distracting us from remembering these promises of the Lord. Maybe that trial for you is the loss of a job, or the loss of an important relationship, or any number of other losses or upsets. Sometimes we can feel a bit hopeless, as if the upset has run us over and we just cannot seem to rise up from it. Trials can also distract us from remembering that even prominent biblical figures suffered a range of hardships, some unimaginable hardships. Jesus himself even asked the Father if it was necessary to be crucified on the cross. On the other hand, these trials did, lest we not forget, eventually bring about favorable outcomes including the good news of the forgiveness of sins and thus everlasting life.
To help you to overcome, the first thing you can do is to pause… and try to accept your circumstances as your place or season for now (but not forever). As you pause, pray and ask God to help you to know His presence and assurance that everything will eventually be alright. After you pray, listen…. Then continue to turn over your attempts to control your circumstances to God– through prayer and the reading of Scripture. God is calling to people through His words in Scripture– especially to those who are weary and heavily-burdened. God does want to provide you rest and peace from your burden. All who earnestly seek Him will find Him.
Injustice and Suffering
War, poverty, hunger, and terrorism are some of the worst occurrences from which people all around the world do suffer. For someone who has deep empathy for other people, this can be agonizing. God promised in Scripture that there will indeed be these world troubles. But He also promised, as stated before, that He has, and will, overcome these worldly troubles.
As someone who identifies deeply with other people, and with God, be encouraged to pray and to act in such a way as to help others. For example, God conveys in Psalm 82:3 to “defend the weak and the fatherless, uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Even though God has overcome the world, He still calls people to live as Jesus did in helping and serving others. Do what you can when you can for His purpose in the world. At minimum, everyone can pray. Your local church and its leaders can help you.
Disasters and Distress
Tragedies can come in different forms but perhaps the most perplexing and devastating among all, in terms of resources, but mostly in lives, are natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, and storms.
In Scripture, the apostles experienced many disasters and tragedies for the cause of Christ. One notable account is the event that happened on a boat. After preaching to a multitude of people near the Sea of Galilee, Jesus and his apostles boarded a boat. While sailing, a massive storm hit the lake with waves sweeping over the vessel. The frightened apostles hurried to wake the sleeping Jesus who then spoke and conveyed to them to have faith– before He calmed the storm. We can learn here that amidst any such storm, it’s important to keep our eyes not on the “waves,” but on the One who can and will calm the waves.
All Things Work Together for Good
Romans 8:28 states that, “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” This verse is essential to every Christian. Your life might be in a place you do not like or that’s rather difficult at present. This truth from Scripture reassures us that God will indeed work all things, even those difficult ones, for the good of those who love Him.
At the end of the day, even amidst the difficulties, we can find assurance for ourselves that the One we may go to and cling to during these difficulties, is worthy of His promises. He is worthy. And as you place your trust and faith in Him for every area of your life, He will not, in fact, He cannot, let you down. Again, your local church and its leaders can help you.