By Rev Goh Yong Kuang
It was this man, Phillips Brooks, a 19th century American clergy and writer, who gave us these timeless words, which have been famously quoted by President JF Kennedy and many others in their speeches & writings:
“Do not pray for easy lives - pray to be stronger men!”
While Christians are not told to go look for trouble, they should be prepared for it when trouble comes. Hardships and sufferings have always been part of the human experience in a fallen world (Romans 8:18-25). We are affected by the trials and troubles of this life as much as those who do not know Christ. Knowing God and choosing to follow Him doesn’t exempt us from hardships - but it does help to trust God and believe that He is with us even in our darkest moments.
One thing we will never find in a Christian life is a trouble-free life. It's a myth here on earth and it only becomes a reality in heaven! The Scripture tells us that when we become a Christian, we become a new creation. (2 Cor 5:17). We are given a new life to live – but this new life will still be lived in the same old sinful world that we used to live in. All the sin and corruption that was around us before we were saved and changed is still there!
Although we will suffer many things just as non-believers will because of this old world we live in, we have an advantage that others do not have! We have a God who promised to shelter us with His hands and protect us from being consumed by our troubles. We have the One who faithfully walks with us through the crisis and watches over us and cares for us. Knowing God's love is steadfast and unchanging will see us through many hard times. Therefore, instead of looking for an escape from hardship and trouble, we are prepared, with God's help, to face it when it comes!
I’m not sure what kind of challenges you are facing right now but rest assured, God is constantly working all things together for your ultimate good. The same crisis that reveals a person’s character can also be used by God to develop his or her character. The Scripture reminds us that our temporary hardships and sufferings are part of God’s maturing process to bring us to full maturity and perfection. Today we can take comfort in the sweet words of Jesus, “In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)
Next time, when you go to God in your distress and desperation, remember…
He sees what is ahead including all the threats & dangers.
He hears every word you cry out; even your unspoken thoughts.
He cares about you and remembers every promise that He made to you.
In this life, you may not always find people whom you can completely trust – but you can always count on God and trust Him!
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
Psalm 34: 19, ESV