When God gives us something hard to bear

By Shane Legler
Posted 1/25/24

If we are honest with ourselves, we who live in America are easily distressed by the challenges God puts in front of us. In truth, we don’t just struggle with hearing “no” from God …

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When God gives us something hard to bear


If we are honest with ourselves, we who live in America are easily distressed by the challenges God puts in front of us. In truth, we don’t just struggle with hearing “no” from God or being asked to do or bear something especially difficult by God; we often struggle when we are merely inconvenienced by God. We tend to willfully forget that the Christian faith is not a faith of self-indulgence but of self-sacrifice. How can we think it strange that God should expect us to receive adversity from him when the Lord Jesus commanded that we take up our cross (Matthew 16:24)?

In truth, God will ask hard things of us all this side of heaven. Therefore, it is important that we all be prepared and able to receive them from his hand when they inevitably come. Thankfully, the Lord has given us the lessons of those who’ve gone before us to make us better able to receive hard things.

The first of course, is Job. Job was a man who sought to please God with all his heart. Therefore, the Lord determined to trust Job to be his instrument to frustrate the devil. This required that God allow the devil to take all that God had given Job save for his life. Job did not sin or charge God with wrong as all that he had was taken (Job 1:22), but he didn’t understand why God had allowed it to happen to him. Job’s friends believed it was because of some sin he had committed, but Job insisted on his innocence and demanded to plead his case to God. Job ultimately wanted the almighty to justify his actions toward him.

However, Job was simply told that he was not God and did not have the standing to question God. He was simply made to understand that he didn’t know much of anything and that he needed to just continue to trust in the Lord he knew to be good, just as he had always done. The point of this is that if we are going to honor God in adversity, we need to know that we don’t know, and more importantly, that we don’t have to know. God knows. It is not ours to know why. It is ours to trust that God knows what he’s doing and that all he does will come out right and beautiful in the end.  

We also need to understand that a hard thing from God may very well be a mercy. As a result of Solomon’s idolatry, the Lord gave 10 of the tribes of Israel to Jeroboam. Rather than honor the Lord, Jeroboam made two golden calves for Israel to worship. In the passage of time, his son fell ill, and Jeroboam sent his wife to seek the word of God’s prophet to know whether the boy would recover or not.

The prophet told the wife of Jeroboam that her son would die, but not because of Jeroboam’s sin. Rather, he was the only one in all of Jeroboam’s house that God saw anything pleasing in, and the Lord wanted him to die in peace, to be buried with honor, and to be properly mourned by Israel. God took that boy to spare him from suffering the judgment that was coming on Jeroboam’s house because he had made Israel to sin (1 Kings 14). 

Additionally, God would have us remember that he is always with us in any trial and that “His power is made perfect in weakness,” 2 Corinthians 12:9. 

It was out of slavery that God lifted up Joseph to rule over Egypt. It was out of captivity that God lifted up Esther to be queen of Persia and the instrument of Israel’s deliverance. Remember the hall of faith in Hebrews 12? God’s people have turned the world upside down by the power of Christ working through their weakness. The grace and strength of God are magnified in the weakness of his servants and that knowledge should be enough to encourage us to endure when he asks a hard thing of us.

More important than all of these, however, is the example of our Lord himself. On the night before our Lord Jesus was crucified for us, he prayed “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will,” Matthew 26:39.

There has never been nor will ever be a harder thing to bear than what the Lord Jesus bore for us on the cross. I have always taken great comfort knowing that the Lord will never ask anything of me that he was not willing to bear himself.

There is nothing that we could ever face that Jesus did not face himself. There is no pain or suffering that the Lord Jesus has not taken upon himself at the cross. On the cross, he took the entire weight of the curse upon himself. The entire weight of all our sin and all the brokenness of this fallen world. He bore it all. When God asks you to bear a hard thing, remember that everything is reasonable at the foot of the cross. 

(Shane Legler is pastor at Garland Community Church of God.)