Sounds like a simple enough equation.
However, we all know that life is anything but simple.
Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. The sun shines and the rain falls on us all regardless of our moral standing.
Being a Christian is not a guarantee of easy living. In fact, multiple passages in the New Testament actually promise trouble for those who believe in Jesus. The only thing we can really hold on to is that God will work all things out for the good of those who love in Him (Romans 8:28).
So, there may be times when good comes from good done. Just as there will be times when bad comes from good done. The result doesn’t define the process or the intent upon which the action is taken.
The blessing comes in the being and the doing and the giving.
Yet this head knowledge does little to rectify the troubled spirit and trampled heart that comes from disappointment, discouragement, or disregard. You wouldn’t be the first, nor would you be the last to look toward the heavens and ask “why?”
When life tosses you about like a ship upon a tormented sea, it is hard not to feel betrayed, let down, and even abandoned. There are many psalms that wonder where God went or why He hid His face or how long He was going to wait before rescuing His people.
Job asked why. Habakkuk asked why. Jeremiah asked why. We ask why.
“Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” Jeremiah 12:1b
One of the reasons is this: “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” Jeremiah 12:5
The only thing guaranteed in this life is trouble.
Trouble is coming. We may feel that we have our fair share of it already, but more is on its way. And everyone’s brand of trouble is different, which leaves us sometimes wondering if we are suffering alone.
We are never alone in suffering. Everyone suffers. And as the last days continue to barrel toward us, the suffering will continue. Trouble is only getting started.
So, if this is the future that we are all facing, if the horses are coming around the bend straight for us, if the thick of things is on its way, then how will we be ready for it?
We keep asking for God to deliver us, but perhaps the very trials that we are currently facing are His way of doing just that. God is allowing the struggle of the foot race so that we may be ready for those horses thundering toward us. That doesn’t mean that He will leave us abandoned to our present crisis, but it doesn’t mean that He will rush to pluck us up out of it either.
He is working it all out for the good of those who love Him.
It’s the working it out that places us wherever we are for however long we are there. All we can really do then is wait on the Lord, trust in His wisdom and promises, count our present blessings, and be grateful that it is only men running alongside us in our safe country and not the horses we will someday encounter.
About Jennifer Miller
Jennifer Miller, MAR, MA, LPC is a Christian pastor, professional counselor, and author of No Longer Two: A Guide to How God Created Men, Women, and Marriage. For over a decade, she has been combining her expertise in psychology and theology to help individuals, couples, and families both in private practice and in ministry, as well as through her writing, speaking, and teaching.
She is the co-founder and Co-Executive Director of The Center for Living Well, a nonprofit Christ-centered wellness ministry dedicated to helping people live well and love God. She regularly leads classes, workshops, and retreats on a wide range of topics including faith and relationships. She is also a Master-level Christ-Centered Yoga Leader at the Center.
Jennifer is one of the new co-hosts on Heart and Soul with Jory Fisher. You can listen to her with Jory the second and third shows of the month.