One moment of suffering in our lives can eclipse 10,000 plus reasons for us to bless the Lord! That one moment of suffering, if we allow it can blind us to the holy goodness and holy love of God and can derail us off the straight and narrow.
Jesus never said we would never encounter difficulties when we pick up our cross and follow Him. In fact we can expect opposition if we are pursing holiness. Jesus experienced heavy opposition to the point of death. The Apostle Paul writes to the church in Rome;
“Since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” - Romans 8:17-18
The opposition that Jesus experienced is the same that you and I experience every day. Often the opposition might take a form that you might not expect. The Apostle Paul tells the Church in Ephesus that our opposition is not made up of flesh,
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” - Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
The question remains: Does God hate us, or is He out to get us when things don’t go right? Let me be clear... NO! We need to understand two things. First, this world is broken! When sin entered this world, it brought chaos and disorder and things have not been right ever since. We cannot blame or attribute every wrong thing or even every disaster to God. We are still in that already but not yet season and awaiting the full restoration of creation.
Second, the Apostle Paul asks the church in Rome this very question,
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” - Romans 8:35-37 (NLT)
The victory that Paul talks about doesn’t mean that all our problems go away. Some church traditions will tell you that more faith will eliminate your problems. Unfortunately that is incorrect. That idea does more damage then good. More faith will not eliminate our problems but what it will do is enable us to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to choose freedom. It will remind us that Jesus is right there next to us walking with us, and comforting us.
I encourage you to do two things this week: First, ask God what He wants you to learn from this season of pain or suffering? Second, whether you feel it or not, declare in faith the goodness of God out loud, because he is truly Holy Good and Holy Love.
DAN FARCAS | WORSHIP ARTS PASTOR