Psalms 30:1 “Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.”
We are self-preservers. We strive to avoid heartache, pain and suffering. And we strive for that in the lives of those we love as well. We walk around trying to keep everything in order, everyone safe, everyone fed and everyone happy. We read articles about how to reduce stress. We count down to vacation when we can finally relax, and we pray fervently that no evil will fall upon us. When suffering strikes those we know, we are relieved it wasn’t us and we continue preserving our lives.
But how does this priority of preservation align with the Gospel? Jesus told us we would have trouble (John 16:33). We would certainly have trouble. It’s never been a matter of if, but rather, a matter of when. This knowledge should shift our priority. If hard times are guaranteed, self-preservation should no longer be what we strive for. Instead we should brace ourselves for the trouble by trusting deeper in God and believing in his goodness. That way, when the trials and tribulation show up at our door, we are able to turn to the one who told us ahead of time they were coming. If He knew what day and time these unwanted guests would arrive, He knows what we need in order to endure their stay, right?
Being able to answer that question with a confident “yes” allows us to take our life’s focus off of preserving ourselves and those around us and onto glorifying God. Hours before he hung on the cross, Jesus made it clear that God should be glorified through suffering. He prayed, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you” (John 17:1).
What if next time you found yourself under the weight of difficult circumstances, you uttered those similar words: “God be glorified in my suffering.” The hard times no longer are about you. They are no longer a curse or something that would make you doubt the goodness of God. Instead, it is an opportunity to deepen your relationship with Him and broadcast His love to others.
You will look a little crazy praising God after a tragic death in your family or after losing your job or your house or whatever it is. But ultimately your radical reaction to your circumstance will be the best and most genuine opportunity to show the world who Christ really is.