I teach an adult Sunday School class and have for many years. Last week we began a new study entitled, “When Life Gets Hard.” One of the core truths of the study is that no one is immune to suffering. Pain is universal. However, what is not universal is how we respond to it. Some grin and bear it, others retaliate against the hurt, some become bitter, and a few give up. The question for all of us who claim to be a believer is this: Will we exercise our faith when life gets hard?
If you are currently experiencing a joyful season of life, celebrate the moment. I happen to be one of those people. Life is good right now; I have no complaints. However, I’ve lived long enough (I’m bumping 60) to know that a time of grief is coming. In fact, as I understand the Word, we should expect difficulties. Jesus was straightforward on this matter.
In this world you will have trouble. John 16:33
Why does suffering exist? The Bible is clear on the answer to this question. Pain and sorrow exist because of sin. When sin entered the world, negative repercussions were immediate.
He said to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children with painful effort. Genesis 3:16
And he said to the man…the ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. Genesis 3:17
So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. Genesis 3:23
With sin came misery, sorrow, despair, and death. Every aspect of life has been tainted by sin. In fact, Paul noted, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now” (Romans 8:22).
With this in mind, it becomes fairly simple to answer the following question: Will we experience heartache as educators? The answer is a resounding yes. All of creation has been impacted by man’s sin, and that includes our educational institutions. Anguish can and will come in various forms from many sources, and it is often unjust.
· A parent may falsely accuse us of mistreating a child.
· A patron may attack us for no apparent reason on social media.
· A child may defiantly refuse to abide by our directions.
· A supervisor may wrongfully use our appraisal to malign us.
· A board member may blame us for an incident over which we have no control.
· A peer may maliciously spread false rumors about us to fellow staff members.
The educational profession is not exempt from distress. We live in a world racked by sin. Expect hardships at work. So, when that time comes, what do we do? Do not fret! God has promised He will be with us during our darkest times.
· God is present.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
· God heals.
And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them. Luke 6:19
· God protects.
The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
· God hears.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 1 John 5:14
· God provides.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
· God strengthens.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
· God cares.
Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
· God delivers.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34.17-18
· God comforts.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29
What an amazing God we have! He is a God of promises. We can stand strong in the face of adversity because we know that one day “…every knee will bow…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11). On that day “…he will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…” (Revelation 21:4). Until that time, claim God’s promises and have hope!
Suffering is part of living in a fallen world. Expect it; don’t be caught off guard by it. Growing disciples learn to lean on God in all situations, even when we don’t understand the why. One of the markers of Christian growth is that we exercise our faith in all circumstances. It is easy to be a person of faith when life is good.
Will we exercise our faith when life gets hard?
A big THANK YOU to my side-kick and life partner for this week's blog!