“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35; 37-39
Hardship and true Christianity are inseparable. Jesus said so Himself in John 15:20-21: “No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also…They will treat you this way because of My name, for they do not know the One who sent Me.” Many professing Christians’ first instinct when life gets hard is to question, or even blame, God. Such a reaction is evidence of an immature at best, or even false, faith. After all, if Christ, the perfect Son of God, was misunderstood, mistreated, mocked, and hated, why should we think we deserve better?
It is time that we, the people of God, grow up in our faith. It is time to take God at His word and believe, deep down in our souls, that we are loved. It is time that the root of His love becomes our foundation – the basis for every thought, feeling, attitude and action. Our first instinct needs to shift from “Why?” to “Why not?” It is time to readjust our expectations from an easy life to a holy life. Our prayers need less, “Bless me” and more “Use me.”
Such change is impossible without a God-centered view of life. God does not view persecution, hardship and suffering as we do. In His infinite wisdom and love, He is able to achieve things for and through His people when they suffer that He cannot achieve otherwise. For one, suffering purifies our devotion to Christ. It separates the faith-full from the faith-less. God’s people accept, through faith, that it is His will that they should stand firm when trouble comes. Suffering also keeps our faith in Christ alive and growing. When we are forced to rely on Christ for everything, our faith and love deepens. These times in the “valley” are not pleasurable, but it is here that we find true joy.
Do you have a biblical view of suffering? Do you believe that nothing can separate you from God’s love in Christ? As the End draws nearer, we must ask ourselves these questions so that we may be found faithful when at last we meet Jesus face to face.
Loving Father, Please forgive me for wanting an easy life. I confess that often I would rather be blessed on my terms instead of on Yours. Help me to believe that Your way is always best for me, even when it is hard. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.