In what do you trust? When problems overwhelm you, tragedy seems to be hiding around every corner, and you can’t seem to get out from under the weight of all the junk of this world, where do you turn? As Christians, we naturally answer God. But the question remains…in what do you trust. Do you trust that God will remove your burdens? Recently, I came across the blog, On Becoming New, which contained a recent post about the movie, Facing the Giants. She brings up a good point…a misconception that sometimes lurks within the Christian community. Though the movie was great, had a happy ending and so forth, to the unenlightened observer, it might actually appear to portray having a relationship with Jesus as something akin to a “genie in the sky who will grant all our wishes”. But our relationship with Christ is so much more than that. Having a relationship with Christ doesn’t mean that all your troubles dissolve. As she clearly points out, the Bible says in 1 Peter 4:12-13 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
My concern is that some interpret this passage as our suffering brings God’s glory. Maybe I’m wrong…but it is how we operate when we are neck deep in trials and temptations (as well as in the days we are drowning in God’s blessings), that reveals God’s glory. Having a relationship with Christ means you are able to have peace when suffering is present. You can have a rock to stand on when the world wants to pull and push you all over the place. And you can have a place to rest your weary head…right there on the shoulder of Christ…regardless of the giants you are facing. And when we live as such, people see God’s love, His peace, and most importantly, they want that for themselves.
But there is another aspect to this “suffering equals glory” theory. While God is not a genie, he is also not a wimp. He can take out those Giants, if it is His will. We must never forget to believe! The danger in not believing is that we forget His love, His Mercy and His faithfulness. When we merely “endure” under the weight of our circumstances, forgetting to believe that He can bring down the giants, we are forgetting who He is.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’” (Jeremiah 29:11-13, New International Version).
Whatever your circumstances are, you have to know they are weighed carefully and thoughtfully in the hands of a loving God. If He has called me to some sort of trial, there is some purpose in my pain. As an author, I often view God as this great writer. And sometimes, when we are in the middle of our darkest times, from our earthly view, we are confused; we can’t see where this is all leading. But He is carefully crafting a story, and the purpose of that story is love. He has a perfect time, a perfect will, a perfect purpose, and perfect love…and that is what we place our faith in. His love is what I trust in.
Both our belief that God can overcome the giants, and our faith that God’s love surpasses all circumstances, should never waiver or outweigh each other. They go hand in hand. I think we need to take our eyes off the giants, and place our eyes upon God. Trust in who He is, His love, and His Faithfulness.