Hold on to God in the Midst of Suffering, Hardship and Disappointment
Our faith in God does not mean we live within the confines of a safe cocoon.
For years I have made it my mission to destroy the influence of the Christian cliché “The safest place to be is in the center of the will of God,” but just this past week my wife, Kim, introduced me to one of the earlier uses of this adage. It’s found in the diary of Corrie ten Boom. Corrie’s sister, Betsie, was encouraging her with this hope. I’ve always had a great disdain for this statement, but I have to admit this particular context shows me how far we’ve strayed from how it must have been understood. For Corrie and Betsie, the promise of safety in the center of God’s will was fleshed out in concentration camps during the Nazi holocaust of the Jews. And although Corrie lived to tell the story, Betsie died in the midst of it.
Clearly neither of them concluded that this expression conveyed a belief that God would keep them from suffering hardship and even death. Betsie’s statement was a declaration that to walk in the character of Christ is always the right choice, regardless of outcome or consequence.
The original call of Jesus was so simple, so clean, so clear: “Follow me.” He wants us to surrender our lives to Him and follow Him into the unknown. And if it means a life of suffering, hardship, and disappointment, it will be worth it because following Jesus is more powerful and more fulfilling than living with everything in the world minus Him.
We understand clearly that we follow the God who chose the way of the Cross. If Jesus would not avoid the “place of the skull,” then we should not be surprised where He might lead us. If even He found Himself sweating blood at Gethsemane, then we should be certain we will stand at crisis moments where all we can do after asking for relief is declare, “Not my will, but Yours.”
>>BRING IT TO LIFE:
God calls men to be warriors, to stand up and brave the trials and challenges that come our way. Is there a situation you’re facing today that gives you the opportunity to stand for what you believe, or to follow God’s direction down a difficult path?