Photo Credit: Mikaela Hamilton
3 Things to Remember in Hard Times
For our light and momentary affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.
– 2 Corinthians 4:17
As a pastor, I often get a front row seat to the brokenness in this world because typically no one calls their pastor to talk about how great life is going. Instead, pastors get called when someone is sick or dying or when a couple is struggling to make it or when the loneliness become unbearable. In other words, people call pastors when they come face to face with the reality that life is hard and suffering is real.
Honestly these situations overwhelm me, but they don’t sink me. The main reason my soul stays steady in these moments is that I know our whole story. You see, our story isn’t that the world is perfect or perfecting itself. If this were the case, I think I would feel I had been ripped off or that I was missing out on something. But our story isn’t that life is pain-free. Our story is that the world is broken. Things are not the way they should be. People get sick. Stuff hits the fan. This was not God’s intent, but it is our reality because we stopped listening to God back in Genesis 3.
I realize all of this is bleak, but remember the story isn’t over. Right now we are in the middle, but at the end, Jesus comes back and grants us relief. In other words, one day the darkness we face today will give way to a better tomorrow.
Now image that you hit the eject button in the middle of your marriage or your job or your life journey because life isn’t all you thought it should be. Does that help anything or anyone? I mean just imagine that Frodo quite half way through The Lord of the Rings. Would that have helped the people of Middle Earth? Nope. Not a bit.
Now Frodo didn’t know the end of his story, but we know the end of our story. We know that God is coming back for us. We know he will heal and restore. So we can hold on, not because today is a good day, but because a great tomorrow is coming.
Courage to face this life is in many ways a function of knowing your whole story. So here are three things to remember in hard times.
1. You are in the middle of the story. This means you should expect both victory and defeat. So when things fall apart, remind yourself that this is normative for you and for the people around you.
2. God is with you in every moment of the story. You may not feel his presence. I get that. There are lots of moments when I don’t feel him either. But he promised to be with us until the end and since it’s not the end, he’s at our side.