Myth: “If I’m a good Christian, then nothing bad will happen to me.”
This isn’t what I asked for, thank you. I want my old life back.
The one where my parents were the perfect couple. Where I was the only one among my friends whose parents were still together. And seemingly still in love.
The one where I was voted most likely to succeed and everyone, right or wrong, envied my life because it seemed so perfect. And I believed it was.
I want to go back to the times when I knew You were involved in my life. The ones where I prayed and You answered. I talked to You, and You listened. The times when I knew You were alive. Loving. And on my side.
I want the life where all I had to do was show up for class, and I got good grades. Name a job opening, and I landed it squarely. Speak my needs, and my husband moved heaven and earth to meet them.
That … that’s what I want.
This … that I have right now … You can take this all away.
This split in my perfect family that I didn’t ask for, and this side of my parents’ relationship I never knew.
This embarrassment of being a college graduate and yet unemployed. The shame of being “let go” from my first real job—the one I e-mailed everyone about and was so confident I’d be successful in.
This heaviness of heart from knowing that I can’t make my husband love me. This crushing realization that he may leave me for someone else someday. This fear of being divorced before I’m 30 years old.
This stagnant spirituality that barely gets me by. And makes me question all I’ve known up to this point.
This can all go. Because this isn’t what I asked for when I first came to You. I want life the way it was supposed to be.
If we believe a true Christian ought not to experience adversity, then the moment our lives fall apart, so does our faith. We begin to question a fundamental issue: “Am I really a Christian? After all, if I were really following God, then this wouldn’t happen to me.”
Following this line of false thinking, we perceive adversity as God’s punishment for unknown sin. As if God is dropping hints from heaven with every tragedy or that he has deserted us somewhere along the way. How easy it would have been for Joseph to question his belief in God and to assume God was punishing him with every misfortune (see Genesis 37; 39—40). Instead, the Bible records his remarkably opposite attitude of faith.
Similarly, we can look to Jesus as the ultimate example to debunk the idea that bad things do not happen to good people. Isaiah prophesied centuries before that the Messiah would be “despised and rejected” and well-acquainted with sorrows (Isaiah 53:3). If Jesus’ life is the Christian ideal, an example in every way, then we must accept Jesus’ suffering as a part of God’s divine impartiality and learn how Jesus handled it. If we were to believe the claims that adversity is unfitting for a believer, then we must discount the examples of Moses, Hannah, Naomi, David, Job, Hosea, Jeremiah, Paul, Mary, John and countless others who experienced great adversity as believers.
The Bible is, above all, realistic in its approach to life. Life sometimes hurts and threatens to crush us beneath its weight. But life in the Spirit is about perseverance and peace in the midst of struggle, not the absence of struggle. To believe otherwise is to join the disillusioned throng who encounter life on its own terms and are unprepared for the blow.
“The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant.”
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
2 Corinthians 12:9