We’ve never been through such times as we are in today. Who could have predicted a year ago that a super contagious virus would spread across the globe in a matter of months and result in a …
We’ve never been through such times as we are in today. Who could have predicted a year ago that a super contagious virus would spread across the globe in a matter of months and result in a worldwide pandemic? Who would have believed that the roaring U.S. economy would suddenly see huge numbers of unemployed because whole sectors of industry would be shut down? Who would’ve believed that we would see massive rioting and serious racial pain and division spread across our cities?
Everyone is hoping and praying for a better 2021, but I also sense a large amount of pessimism in the air, along with fear and fretting about the future. But aren’t Christians supposed to be people of hope and joy? Isn’t it true that because of Jesus Christ there is a basis for enduring optimism on the part of Christians because we know the end of the story?
Now is time for those who know Christ to show the difference that he makes in how we live and in how we respond to the challenges around us. Living strong in uncertain times is what Jesus Christ enables us to do, even when it involves enduring hardship of many kinds.
Here are three reasons why you can face whatever adversity is ahead with comfort and confidence:
First, our difficulties, when submitted to God, bring a greater understanding of ourselves and of reality. I vividly remember, though many years ago, how grueling two-a-day football practices were in high school. The coaches intentionally wanted to push us to our limits physically and mentally in order to develop resilience and endurance in us as young players. I think that God does the very same thing in our lives when he brings or permits the hardships we face. James 2:2-4 says, “When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be mature and complete, needing nothing.”
A second reason we should be glad for the hardships of this life is that they have a powerful way of teaching and reminding us that this world and all it promises can never satisfy our souls. To put it differently, suffering strips away the allegiances, idols and false hopes that we tend to put our trust in. For example, many today, for one reason or another, are disillusioned with the political events of recent months. But, honestly, could it be any clearer that politics and government will never deliver the lasting hope that we all need? The fact is, it is good to be disillusioned with anything that can’t deliver what it promises.
Finally, when we experience hardships, we should keep at the forefront of our minds that they are temporary for those who know Christ. Isn’t that a great thought! Whatever you are going through right now is not going to last. Second Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
I hope you will put your trust in Jesus Christ in whatever circumstances or discouragements you face. He keeps his promises, and he is always faithful.
(David Pool is the senior pastor for Grace Point Church, 550 Kattenhorn Dr., Powell.)