8.12.2011

why do Christians have trouble?

a storm chasing us across the Nebraska prairie


This picture resembles my life right now.  Not to be dramatic or anything...haha.  But really, I feel like storms have been chasing us for so long.  Just when we think we're finally recovering from the last brutal blast, we're laid low again.  I've never bought into the "prosperity gospel", the Bible (and the life of Jesus himself) clearly contradicts it, but it's been preached and advertised from every corner for so long, it's hard not to fall prey to it's prideful message.  According to this false gospel, if we face hardships of any kind then we are clearly not walking in God's will.  Especially if we face financial hardship.  That is of course a red flag (according to this false gospel) that we are not praying correctly, claiming the blessings, walking in righteousness.  This is not a new teaching.  Even in Jesus' time the poor were despised and looked down upon as if God had cursed them with their poverty.  That must have been why Jesus was so adamant that the "gospel be preached to the poor."  (Luke 4:16-21, Luke 7:22)  Jesus even makes what must have seemed an outrageous statement when he claims that the poor are blessed and the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them. (Luke 6: 20-21)  So why is it so hard for us to believe we are blessed when we have little?

And then there's that nagging feeling as a Christian that maybe our seas would be smoother and we could avoid trouble and hardship altogether if we were just a "better" Christian.   Sometimes when calamity strikes, it creeps into my heart--this haunting feeling of abandonment by God.  But God isn't the one leaving.  He promised he would never leave us or forsake us.  We are the ones abandoning His Word.  Because His Word clearly tells us that "in this world you will have trouble". (John 16:33)  Be ready for it.  Don't despise it.  Don't let others convince you it's happening because God is punishing you.  Don't let the enemy convince you God has left you.  Only hear the words of Jesus echoing through time and into your soul,  "But take heart!  I have overcome this world."  (John 16:33) 

I remember as a young Christian I found little comfort in this verse.  "Yeah, Jesus, YOU have overcome this world, but what about me?  I still have to live in it."  The beginning of that verse came rushing back to me, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace."  God knew I would say that.  So he gave me a proclaimer.  Thanks, God.  IN Him.  I am hidden IN Christ.   My life is not my own anymore, but His.  And because of that reason, and that reason alone, I have overcome this world.  "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."  (Colossians 3:3)

So what do I do now?  I let Christ live and love through me, even in the midst of my trials.  I would lie if I said this was easy.  It's not.  I still struggle with thoughts of God's abandonment or that somehow I did something that displeased Him and that is why I suffer.  But God knew I would question, he knew I would need assurance of His love.   And He filled His Word with assurance:

"Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?  Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  (As the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.")  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us." (Romans 8: 35-37)

He loves me.  That's all I need to know to see me through.

12 comments:

Tamara Nicole said...

Great read! Everyone goes through trials and hardships, even the best of the best:-)

Kristin said...

Joye,

Thank you so much for your thoughts on this. I so needed to hear it. We prayed and asked God to close the door on us moving if it was not the right decision and so when better doors opened, we moved forward in faith. And here, a year later, our old house has still not sold and we are stuck with 2 mortgages. It is really beginning to discourage us. We've had everyone tell us what we need to do to sell our house....plant statues in the yard, have more faith, speak that it will be sold, and all I keep thinking is, God, I trust you. I know He has a plan and I just really needed to hear what you said about it not being something we've done wrong. Thank you!

Dee said...

My husband shared this thought from Martyn Lloyd Jones with me just yesterday:
"Duet 33:27 "The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms..."

whatever terrible conditions may come to pass, this is the comfort and consolation...Not only is God a Rock but, underneath are the everlasting arms. Your foundations in life may be gone, everything you built on may be crashing down and you yourself are going down into the abyss. But, no; 'Underneath' - and they are always there - 'underneath are the everlasting arms'. They are always holding you; you will never finally crash; you will be held when everything else is gone"

X

Charissa Steyn said...

Thank you for the beautiful post...needed this today. Struggling, frustrated, and doubting God's love for me yet again...one of those moments. So glad we are not alone and that His love NEVER EVER FAILS, even when we do.

Rachel~Wildflower Photography Studio and a little bit vintage said...

i'm right there with you and often feel the same as you. life has been hitting us hard the last couple of years...one thing after another, after another. sometimes it's hard to keep the faith and trust when we feel so worn, weary, discouraged and defeated. thanks for the reminder. :)

Pia said...

christians are not spared from any hardships and trials simply because we are still in this fallen world. God did not promise us a storm free life, but He did promise us a storm-proof life when we are in Him. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

i am going through a lot myself, but whenever i think and meditate on God's promises, it strengthens me. it gives me hope. i'm just grateful that we serve a faithful God.

Mary said...

Oh, Rubie!
This is something I have felt so often. We lost everything{financially} a couple of years ago when my husband lost his job unexpectedly. God in His infinite wisdom used that valley experience to reveal His amazing love and care for our family. Never had we felt so vulnerable, yet so unconditionally loved. He definitely used taking all of our wordly goods to show us His greatness, provision and mercy...through people on this earth and their kindness and His miraculous plan! Many blessings to you. You have the right perspective and God loves you so much! I can see Him drawing you to Him through this. What a precious time.

'all your anxiety, all your care
bring to the mercy seat, leave it there
never a burden He cannot bear
never a friend like Jesus'

xoxo
Mary

Anonymous said...

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Abbey said...

James 1:9-11-niv. I struggle with that too...on so many levels, and more often than i would like to admit! Sometimes I feel like God doesnt love me enough because I compare our stuff or success to other peoples stuff or success(sounds so silly when I write it down). I read a book by Eliz Elliot (Safe in Everlasting Arms). She put a new perspective from the scripture about God being my portion and also deciding my portion(if that makes sense-forgot references sorry!). You should read that book if you get a chance! If i owned it I would lend it! I'll be praying for yall. Ill bring dinner by on wednesday so dont cook! Ill text you!

Holly said...

Satan knows that the best way to attack us is when we are already low. Thank the Lord He is right there with us!

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

Beautiful post full of truth sweet Joye. I am very rebellious about that prosperity gospel stuff, and really appreciated your thoughts on the subject. God taught me much on this when we were walking through our time (on this earth) with Faith, Grace, and Thomas. It's so not about the "strength of our faith" or the perfection of our walk (HA!)...it's about our Lord's faithfulness to carry us through...no matter what we face. And, in this world, we WILL find trouble...sometimes over and over again. Those verses in Romans are some of my favorite. NOTHING separates us from His love!

Kelly said...

What an amazing post. I can't tell our how often I have felt abandoned but, our so right it was me.who abandoned God. He really only gives us what we can handle and only allows things to happen for the betterment (is that a word ha) and for our own spiritual growth.
Hang in there. I hope your husband is recovering swiftly.
xxO

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