I enjoy a comfortable, predictable, and pleasurable life. How about you?
If I could experience a life free from difficulty, pain, inconvenience, and struggle ... sign me up!
This includes silly, unrealistic wishes, like wanting to drive on roads paid for by other citizens who choose not to use them. Or chocolate at ready reach, without the consequence of weight gain.
It also includes hard-hitting realities: a life-altering illness, a tragic accident, the death of a loved one, the breakdown of a relationship, or the collapse of a lifelong dream.
In many ways, these are God-honoring desires. The Creator invented pleasure for us to enjoy, and prior to The Fall, there was no pain, suffering, or loss.
But we have to be careful.
There's a false theology out there preaching that if you have faith in God, life will go well for you. If you read Romans 8:28 out of context, it makes sense: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good."
To protect our hearts and minds, we have to read Scripture in its proper context, and we also have to use Scripture to interpret Scripture.
In its proper context, Romans 8 is discussing "the good" of our spiritual redemption, not our physical comfort. But what I really want to write about today is how Hebrews 11 properly interprets this verse.
At the end of this famous passage about faith, we're presented with a list of Christians who had to endure hardship, suffering, and loss: and they were commended for their faith in God.
We must reject a theology that teaches that Christianity is an automatic ticket to a comfortable, predictable, pleasurable, healthy, and wealthy life.
That's the easy part, at least intellectually with our mind. What's harder is not judging God in our hearts when he doesn't deliver your definition of "the good life."
We must remember that our vision is sometimes short-sighted, and our desires sometimes selfish. So what God deems as good, we may view as bad.
You see, God never makes a mistake, nor does he ever get a wrong address. He'll do whatever he wants to us and through us to get glory, and to redeem us.
Sometimes redemption will come through tremendous victory. Other times redemption will come through tremendous hardship. Or, a combination of the two.
Whatever season you're in, or whatever unwanted trajectory your life has taken, know this: there's no safer place than to be in God's best plan for your life.
What you're experiencing is God's Plan A, even though at times you may want to grade it an F. There is no Plan B.
I love the end of Hebrews 11 because it reminds us that faith in God doesn't always mean comfort and victory, in worldly terms. But it always means you will be given the grace you need to endure.
Best of all, ten thousand years into eternity, the victories and hardship of this life won't compare to the glory that we're experiencing, as fully redeemed children of the King!
- What are some pleasures and comforts that you enjoy? How can you give God glory for these?
- What is your current definition of "the good life" - and are you at risk of turning any of these God-created pleasures into idols?
- How has the Lord used something that you initially deemed bad for your redemptive good?
- Who can you encourage this week with this truth? "There's no safer place than to be in God's best plan for your life."