I live a good life, but I still suffer. Why?
Does God promise to take all our troubles away when we follow him?
We know that living for the 'world' instead of for Jesus will hurt us, not help us. It’s easy for us to accept the fact that the pleasures of this life are fleeting and sometimes even harmful. When someone who has it all comes to us in despair, we aren’t surprised at their hurting because they have so many 'idols'. We get that.
Here’s what DOES get us confused, though: we do all the 'right' things (read our Bible, pray, attend church, evangelize) and still end up feeling as much in despair as everyone else. What? Yes, it happens to all of us. If it hasn’t hit you yet, it probably will.
This can crush us and make us feel cheated. It may make us want to give up.
Truth and lies
If you meet someone who claims that they were 'formerly Christian', you’re probably talking to someone who did all the 'right' things but still had a crappy life and concluded that God must not care (or exist).
This all stems from one big lie the devil got the church to believe (and preach) at some point in the past.
This is the lie:
God is a drug that you take to fix all your problems. Just like aspirin for a headache, God will remove all the trouble from your life.
This is the truth:
Jesus does bring us joy. Jesus does bring us satisfaction. There are times where Jesus overwhelms us with peace. However, following Jesus doesn’t ONLY bring us joy. He doesn’t ONLY satisfy us. And we don’t ONLY live in peace after we trust Christ. Don’t get me wrong, those days are coming, but they are not yet here. For now, we will still face trouble and suffering.
I’m sorry if that’s disappointing but it’s the truth. Suffering comes with following Jesus. In fact, sometimes it’s the only appropriate response to his cross.
You will suffer
Yes, the truth is that no matter how much you pray, how much you give, and how many people you invite to church, you will still experience the same valleys as someone who doesn't follow God.
- You will both get sick
- You will both face struggles in your family
- You will both die
- You will both be forgotten in a few generations
So, if I am going to suffer either way, then why give my life to God? Why apply God’s Word to my life? Why spend time in the Word? Why spend time in prayer? Why feed the poor?
Because God isn’t a drug, he’s a father.
And Jesus isn’t a vending machine, he’s a friend.
Promises to hold on to
Christianity isn’t about having a good day, it’s about following a King. A King who is fighting for his kingdom AND WINNING! It’s about a kingdom of people rescued. Not by the sacrifice of an army but by the King himself. If you’re in, give thanks to the King and join his fight.
If you’re just looking for a painless life in this world, it doesn’t exist. But, there are at least two things that are different between you and someone who doesn't follow Jesus:
- God promises to be with you through your suffering, working in you for good, making you more like Jesus
- You will have a place in the new creation, where one day God will wipe away all your tears, and usher in a perfect kingdom