I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately. As a young person I wrongly assumed that life got easier as you get older.
Unfortunately the further I go the more questions I have and the less confident I am in my own abilities. How can I be a good father, pastor, leader or Christ-follower if I’m increasingly feeling like I just don’t want to deal with life anymore? Why is it all so hard? Why don’t things seem to go in the direction they are supposed to? If God wants something from me, why doesn’t he make the path more pleasant? Have you ever been there?
Hard kills hype
In wrestling with this question, one thing I’ve discovered is that hard kills hype. Whether you realize it or not, hype is a big bully. Often in your life and mine, the problem isn’t the situation, the lack of funding or that annoying person. The problem is that we think other people’s lives are not exactly like ours. The problem is pictures. It’s snapshots and status updates. We get expectations and images in our minds from Instagram that make our imagination our reality. But one thing I’ve notices about the hard is that it kills my hype. It crushes the hollow and empty image I have of life and other people. Through the hard, God is killing my giant, my Goliath and in that process he’s paving the way for something better.
Hard creates hope
If you’re like me, you don’t want your hype to die. Even though it’s a bully, you’ve learned to live with it. But the truth is God has something better, a better that can only happen through the hard. In the end, your hard gives way to hope. I think sometimes God gives us hard things not to make us feel insignificant, but to help us to realize that we already are small and that he is big. God gives us the hard so that we will fix our eyes in the right place. Without disease and discomfort we would look to our bank accounts, our health and our comparisons to create happiness. On the other hand, God offers us a real and lasting hope in things to come. Jesus provides a bright future for God’s people that we can take hold of right now through faith in his promise.
Hard makes holy
We all wonder why life isn’t getting any easier. Our wondering that, however, points us to another purpose. If things aren’t going where we want them it’s because they are not supposed to go that way. If we can start to connect God’s good intentions for us with our surroundings we can only reason that, yes, God does have different plans for our lives than we have for ourselves. God’s plan isn’t to make us comfortable. God’s plan is to make us conformable. He wants us to look like Jesus, to be holy. Holiness isn’t what we seek by nature but it is exactly what we need for God’s happiness. God’s plan is to bless you. While he was in jail, the Apostle Paul encouraged the Philippian church, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6). Why is life so hard? Because God is hard at work! With that in mind, look at your hardship not as a hindrance but as God’s help to make you more like him and you will have his joy today.
Have you ever experienced what I’m talking about? Are you willing to exchange hollow hype for God’s hope? Be encouraged today that his end game is your good and that your hard is exactly what he’s using to get you there!