Frequently, I hear from believers who feel like their lives are unraveling. Broken marriages, wayward children, emotional stress, physical illness, financial catastrophe, church friction, loneliness – these represent only some of the problems confronting many of God’s children.
It is important to counsel fellow believers who are going through the flames of adversity with the apostle Peter’s admonition: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). The Lord can give wondrous peace in the midst of adversity, but that reality – and it is a reality – doesn’t remove the problem. A woman who has recently lost her husband is not unspiritual because she has a sense of loneliness. A couple who have suffered the loss of a child are not acting inappropriately because they are grieving. Parents who are heartsick because their unwed daughter is pregnant are not to be chastened as though they have a lack of trust in God. A Christian businessman who has serious financial reverses is not evidencing a lack of faith because he has legitimate concern over pressing obligations.
“The peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) and the heartache of the world are not mutually exclusive. The Lord Jesus Christ reminded His followers that “in the world ye shall have tribulation [pressure, affliction, difficulty]: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
The trials of life are real – so, too, are the heartaches. Christians are not exempt from life’s problems simply because they are Christians. God, however, has provided a stellar truth for His children which, when rightly understood, can make present trials – even death itself – little more than transient inconveniences in the scheme of eternity. God never promised His children they would go through life buying stock when it is low and selling it when it is high; that life would be just a great big “bowl of cherries.”
In his epistle to Titus, Paul admonished his son in the faith to be “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Peter had the same hope in view when he wrote:
Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).