Pain is one of the reasons why we search for meaning and purpose in life. We all suffer from time to time (or, in some cases, all the time). An untimely death, an unexpected illness, a particularly malevolent co-worker, or a terrible accident strikes and suddenly our perception of life is crushed by reality. We think, “life wasn’t supposed to be this way.” We wonder why we have it so hard when others seemingly have it so easy. Our sense of justice and fairness is violated. Why me? Why now? Why, God, why?
Contrary to popular belief, Christ does not promise an easy road, material wealth, or comfort and ease. Jesus says, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Christ is brutally honest with His disciples. Suffering, pain, and heartaches lie ahead and He does not gloss over these with naivete or superficial platitudes. Instead, He equips us with the tools to cope with life’s disappointments, including one of His greatest gifts, hope: “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” What a hopeful statement! Yes, troubles are inevitable, but not indomitable. The world attempted to crush Jesus with an agonizing death only to see Him rise victorious over the grave. When trouble strikes, we find hope in knowing Jesus overcame the world and has “gone to prepare a place for us.”
Hopeful people understand they must endure trials and overcome obstacles in order to reach their better future. For example, Abraham chose to hope in God when the Lord promised him a son. Think of the obstacles standing in the way of Abraham’s brighter tomorrow. Abraham was a childless, seventy-five year old man when God first promised a land to his descendants. Sarah was sixty-five and unable to conceive. To further increase the unlikelihood, Isaac was not born until a quarter-of-a-century later. Although every conceivable biological factor stood in the way, a centenarian fathered a child with his ninety year old wife. Paul says Abraham, “who contrary to hope, in hope believed…” (Romans 4:18).
So my friends, don’t accept the false hopes sown by some. A better resurrection and a home in heaven awaits those who are willing to suffer, prepared to endure, and who cling to hope at all costs. Hope means hoping when all seems hopeless.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” (2 Corinthians 4:17)