…. well, if you have listened to any form of TV and radio within the last 2 years, then you would know the last part of this line. Just in case you just crept from underneath a cultural rock, then it’s a Coldplay song which goes a little like this:
Just because I’m losing, doesn’t mean I’m lost. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop. Doesn’t mean I won’t cross.
The point is, although we may take a few (or many hits) along the way, we should never give up. Now, what could that mean from a Christian perspective? Well, just look around you- what can you see? I see a basic truth which everybody realises at some point in their lives: everybody hurts, and everybody always has a problem. Now, if we look at this point and expand it, what do Christians have which could make us immune to this problem? And if this immunity is a sure-fire thing, then how come so many people within the world described as so called ‘Christians’ seem to be just as powerless to this problem just as much as everyone else?
Let me tell you a story. There once was a man who had it all- the cars, the clothes, the girl, the prestige, the money- you name it. Now this guy, lets call him Jake for names’ sake, was going about his daily business of his life, and had everything (literally everything) taken away from him within a day. He lost billions of dollars he had invested in stocks, his entire family (including his wife) suddenly died for no apparent reason. Jake’s cars got broken into and stolen, all the staff within his company took up a strike and made him bankrupt within just one single day. Whatever bad that you could potentially wish upon your worst enemy happened to Jake all in one go.
Now, lets say that this man happened to be a Christian. What would he do next? How would Jake react to all the critics blaming him (and his God) for all the wrongs which happened to him? What about the rest of his life? Who could he turn to? Could Jake even trust on The Lord himself through this horrific and terrible ordeal?
What happened next is extremely interesting, and very counter-cultural indeed. He turned his eyes to God to pray constantly, and he never let go or gave up. Although Jake may have moaned and complained deeply about the situation he was in (nobody is perfect here…), he never set eyes off of his God; even when nothing got better for many years. He even attempted the seemingly impossible- being glad and rejoicing to God within the worst possible scenario, never backing down or giving up on God at any point! Now, let’s say that you’re in exactly the same situation- is this how you would have reacted? If not, then what are we missing? Surely, if we had any positive belief of a higher power, we should react in the same way?
The reason is a simple, blunt and even harsh one: we don’t genuinely believe the beliefs that we have within our own hearts. If you truly and genuinely believed, for example, that God is always there with you and be with you; then how could you ever give up and just drop everything you always had integry and belief in up to the point of suffering? Let us say, for now, (although I would love people of other Faiths and Religions to put their spin on this if they desire to choose so) we were talking about the Judeo-Christian God; with Jesus at the centre of the picture as the promised messiah and saviour of the World. There are many passages on suffering, as mentioned by Trev below, and if we genuinely and truely believed what we did, we would then have no issue with how to respond to suffering. Let me give you a few examples to feast your soul upon:
New Living Translation (NLT)
12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
1 Peter 4:12-16
New Living Translation (NLT)
Suffering for Being a Christian
12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
14 So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian,[a] for then the glorious Spirit of God[b] rests upon you.[c]15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!Footnotes:
Just looking at these two quotes alone, something very surprising sticks out. You shouldn’t be ‘surprised at the fiery trials’, be happy ‘when you are insulted for the name of Christ’ and it is ‘no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!’. Also ‘[being] happy about it! Be very glad!’ and just the mention of a reward for suffering in heaven is interesting in itself. Just from these two relatively short Bible passages, it is clearly obvious and vital that as a Christian, you should never ever give up- never to throw in the towl. Because with the Christian faith actually comes the expectance of suffering! Looking at it from this viewpoint makes Jake look like a rather intelligent and wise man; as he followed the advice and instruction given to him within the rather large book which is directly representive and core to his own faith.
So, if you see a Christian who has lost sight in the faith of their God (which happens alot just in case you didn’t know!), and start complaining about their daily troubles or how their day really REALLY sucked- please do me small, tiny favour. Even if you don’t believe, or don’t even care about it really- just quote these verses back to them and let them know that they should ‘rejoicing’ and ‘[being] glad’ in the face of their continuous sufferings and trials. Also, if not most important, remind them that they should ‘Praise God for the privilige of being called his name!’ for ‘these trials makes you partners with Christ in his suffering’.
PS: I’m guessing you want to know how the story ends for Jake? Well, you can read it in the book of Job (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job%201&version=NLT). It ends with an exchange between The Lord himself and Job- you can guess who had the upper hand here! (Job 38-42) To abbreviate it, God simply asked Job if he had any premise or stand in comparison to an infinite and incomprihensible God? Job’s exchanges showed that he was sorry for even considering to question God’s motives- even in such a bad situation as this! In conclusion to everything, and after a few loose ends involving Job’s friends were tied up, Job was given back double (double!) of what he had before by God’s hand; a truly amazing conclusion to a whirlwind story!
- Part 2 (Well, Part 3 if I’m Honest!) So what is eternal security then? (onwardswearychristian.wordpress.com)
- Working Hard, or Hardly Working? (onwardswearychristian.wordpress.com)
- So, what is the greatest gift that we could give to God? (onwardswearychristian.wordpress.com)
- Faithful Friday: 1 Peter 4:13-14 (fromundermanyhats.com)