I’ve noticed that many Christians (myself included) can get very frustrated and down at times when they face opposition, challenges and setbacks. Somehow there is this false notion that when you give your life to Jesus, all of a sudden everything is going to be great and there will be no more problems. Many pastors today preach happiness to gain their own followers and fans instead of preaching holiness and creating true disciples for Christ. This can give us a very misguided vantage point from which to view our lives.
In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27, the great apostle Paul says this:
“Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.”
If Christ’s greatest (or at least my favorite) apostle faced this much opposition, what would make us naive enough to think we would experience anything different? Luckily for us today, the majority of Christians in our country don’t face actual physical harm for their walk with the Lord, but you get the point.
You’ve probably heard it taught that hidden inside every failure is the seed of an equal or greater opportunity. Blessings, gifts and lessons in life often come to us from God disguised as problems and challenges. In fact I’ve come to believe that often we actually experience obstacles, challenges and problems not because we are doing something wrong, but often because we are doing something right. You can always tell who the leaders are, because they have the most arrows in their back.
We have to consider that if we don’t run into the devil now and again, it’s possible we are going in the same direction. Can you see how God might have a message for you in your mess? Is there sanctification to come from your suffering? Most importantly can a fresh perspective on problems and challenges strengthen your faith and help you more truly believe that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him”? (Romans 8:28)