No easy way out

Ecclesiastes 3:16-4:8

It doesn’t always seem like the whole world is in God’s hands. There are many seasons it feels like every part of the world is except our own. That’s the weight our difficulties can push on us. Make us feel like we’ve reached the limits of God’s care and provision.

Now, our faith tells us that’s impossible. As the hymn reminds us:

No matter what may be the test,

God will take care of you.

Still, what do we do with our anxious feelings and desperate cries to God? My pastoral ministry suggests this is a great lesson for Christians to learn. That we need to understand our trust in Jesus does not keep us from suffering or pain. Many understand faith in Christ to be merely a ticket to heaven. Of course, it is so much more. Many others consider the Christian faith to be a ticket out of hardship and misfortune. At times, I’ve heard that be a selling point to joining the Jesus team.

That misguided notion doesn’t acknowledge God’s power like some assume. Instead, it belittles God. It makes the Lord of all creation out to be a babysitter. If God does what we want, then a cool babysitter we wouldn’t mind having again. To be sure, that idea doesn’t come from scripture.

Now, part of our worry seems to be this. That if we admit how deep our pain can be that we’re actually rejecting what God can do. If that’s a concern you have, worry no more! The Bible has several reflections on this.

The book of Ecclesiastes, for example, offers a candid look at life. According to the author, our lives come and go. You can’t control anything, good or bad. Now, that may seem like a grim outlook. But I have found acknowledging the sometimes-cruel reality of life leads to deeper healing. It’s then we can see how what we face stands in contrast to what God truly desires for us. Peace over chaos.

Again, what do we do with these feelings of desperation? Acknowledge them. Make them a part of your prayer and worship. Pay attention to how the Lord may be guiding you through them. And, like Ecclesiastes teaches, realize they are a part of living. Toil and strife are as real to life as beauty and joy. And none of us escape them. Through it all, God doesn’t rearrange every difficulty you face. But the Lord continues to give peace all the while.

Stay blessed…john