To many of us it often seems that life is just a series of difficulties disbursed among moments of peace. Everyday problems punctuate the rhythm of life with a constant need to reevaluate, renegotiate, or reimagine the path forward. Small problems turn into big problems and big problems turn into insurmountable roadblocks that completely stop our forward progress. Life is suffering. Life is figuring out ways around pain. Life is waiting for the next uncomfortable disruption never knowing if a solution will emerge before total destruction. Could this be God’s plan?
As a follower of Jesus we live our lives knowing (not simply believing, but knowing) that God is on our side and He will intervene on our behalf as He sees fit. The unbelieving skeptic, on the other hand, looks at the difficulties in a believer’s life and questions why God would allow a follower to suffer pain. From the outside looking in, the Christian life looks no different than the life of an unbeliever. Plenty of Christians suffer in many different ways just as unbelievers suffer. If life is suffering for Christians just the same as it is for unbelievers, where is the benefit of following Jesus? These kinds of questions need answers. As a follower of Jesus Christ you should be equipped to give answers or at least direct those asking to a reliable resource for answers. There are several books and online resources dedicated to answering difficult questions about Christianity – I’ve posted some links below. Reading and memorizing the best answers is one way to prepare to deal with skeptics, but another way is to simply understand how God is working in this world.
1 Peter 3:15 (NASB)
“Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.”
You are not the human body that you happen to inhabit. You are a spirit residing temporarily within that human body. God has placed you there as a training tool. Consider your life to be a trip to a sophisticated gym with fitness machines that challenge your body, mind, and spirit. When the training gets rough, the gym equipment will take a beating; however, you will only get stronger. Just like a difficult fitness routine – the more you suffer the stronger you become. Indeed, life is suffering, and for good reason. Remember the old fitness adage, “No pain, no gain.” You have to work hard to get strong and God knows specifically how to best train each and every individual. The remarkable aspect of God’s training is the fact that we all have a different training program and your program is woven into the program of each and every person you come into contact with throughout your life. Yes, bad things happen. Yes, sometimes life is suffering. Yes, God is in control. Whatever you’re dealing with, keep your eyes on God and He will turn your suffering into enormous gain. Our life here in this world is just a small moment in time when compared to all eternity. Make your moment count.
James 4:14 (NASB)
“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
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