Sometimes when I look out over my congregation of really great people I can’t help but wonder how they’re making it. In fact I marvel that they’re making it.
One of the privileges, and at the same time burdens, of being a pastor is that you know things about people. They tell you things. You know their hardships. You know who’s crying on the inside.
That one is unemployed. Another one over there is too. Over there is a wife that just left her husband of 50 years in the Alzheimer Unit. There and there and there are people dealing with life-changing health issues. People struggling with their marriages – and divorce. Families are crying out to God for their prodigals. On that side a mother who just buried her son. Behind her a husband sitting alone because his dear wife is struggling with depression. Every month the family in the back drives two hours to visit a son in the state prison – they’ll do it for at least 10 years. Several more struggling with various kinds of cancer. Old age is slowly, and sometimes not so slowly, creeping up on our seniors. Broken relationships. Too many bills and not enough money. Sick children.
I’m not making this stuff up.
There’s more. A lot more.
I marvel at these people.
But life is Hard. It is for everyone. Not to the same extent. Not in the same way. But Hard.
The trap that we have to avoid is thinking that we have it hard while other people have it easy. That leads to questioning and even doubting God. Why should I suffer while other people enjoy the good life?
The reality isn’t that some people have an easy life and others have a hard life. The reality is that some people have learned how to handle the hard life without letting it destroy them while others are still searching.
If you’re still trying to figure it out here are 3 things to remember.
Even when life is hard, God still loves you. Don’t gauge His love by the relative ease of your life. He loves you just as much in the Hard Times. Maybe more (if that’s even possible).
Someone else is suffering more than you. I know that sounds like a lousy reason to look up, but it’s still true. The writer of Hebrews used this argument in Hebrews 12 when he said that we need to keep our eyes on Jesus who suffered death. Not keeping your eyes on Jesus leads to discouragement. Then he blasts us with this: You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin (vs 4). His point: Jesus suffered more than you so don’t give up yet.
You might have it bad but there are plenty of people in the world who are hungrier, who are hurting more, who have been beaten and raped and tortured. Keep it all in perspective. Don’t lose heart. It’s just a light affliction.
Not my words. Paul’s (you need to read this. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Don’t you hate it when he’s right!
You’ll make it. We’ll all make it. You might arrive bruised and bleeding, but you’ll make it. God will see to that.
It might not be clear to you now but He’s got your life under control and He’s leading you even in the darkness. Sometimes on the mountain. Sometimes through the valley. But He knows the way and You’ll. Make. It.
He’s never lost anyone yet.
Stay in the Word