Read Hebrews 11:36-40
Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
- As you face hardships, have you ever stopped and wondered if you could be on the verge of some incredible new stage of spiritual growth in your life?
- Or are you just sick of suffering?
- Maybe you’re mad at God because those who don’t claim Christianity seem to be having more fun than you?
Sometimes the only way God can bless us is by breaking us. It’s not easy, and it’s not fun. We feel alone, wrestling and questioning, feeling empty and full of doubts—not aware that we might, in fact, be very close to an amazing encounter with God. At times, that’s how God gets our attention. When everything’s going great, we usually don’t hear Him very well. Yet when it feels as if we’re wandering through a spiritual desert—when we struggle—He has our undivided attention. C.S. Lewis put it this way: “God whispers in our pleasure, but He shouts in our pain.”
It’s definitely hard to accept and most certainly unpleasant to think about. But, like it or not, even good Christians suffer from time to time. Why? “When the light comes the darkness must depart,” explains Charles H. Spurgeon. “Where truth is, the lie must flee. If the lie remains, there will be a severe conflict, because truth cannot and will not lower its standard. If you follow Christ, all the hounds of the world will yelp at your heels.” Living on the side of truth means struggle: saying no when everyone else is saying yes, or yes when they’re saying no; holding back anger when you want to lash out; being honest when you know a little bit of dishonesty could make life easier. When it feels as if the Christian life involves more pain than blessings, consider this: It’s better to endure temporary struggle, which leads to eternal joy, than momentary comfort, which results in everlasting torment.
Lord, help me to remember that struggle is a sign of life. Help me to endure hardships. Amen.