A life of strife

I think it’s safe to say: Most of us want peace.

But Jesus never promised peace in this world.

In John 16:33, Christ says: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

This is an important point. As believers, we sometimes feel that God should take away the hard things in life and give us peace and quiet.

But the peace we look for can only come from God himself within our hearts.

What good is all this heartache we suffer? On occasion, we don’t see any good coming from our troubles.

But Moses said in Deuteronomy 8:2,3 that God let the children of Israel wander in the wilderness for 40 years “humbling and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands”. God’s purpose, Moses said, was to teach the Israelites that they do not live by bread alone but “by every word that comes from the mouth of
of the Lord”.

But what about when we do obey God – at least, we think we are? Well, Jesus’ disciples asked him in John 9 whether a man, who was blind from birth, suffered because of his parents’ sins. Jesus replied that was not the reason for his blindness – he was blind to show the power of God. And he proceeded to heal him.

Indeed, how we react to suffering can be a testimony to others.

Paul responded to imprisonment by saying he had an opportunity to witness to the people in prison.

On another occasion, he and Silas sang praises in a Philippian prison after terrible beatings. The result was that God intervened to free them and the Philippian jailer and his family became believers.

I always come back to the passage in Romans 8:28 where Paul says that everything works out to the good of those who love God.

Ultimately, of course, we can look forward to a time when there will be no more tears. Then, we will be with God himself.

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