The Promise of Victory in Hard Times
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
Sometimes we don’t know which way to go.
Life has a way of throwing us a curve ball now and then. Sometimes we face circumstances that are so confusing that we don’t know what we need or what we want or what would be best. There have been times when I have said, “Lord Jesus, if you were here, standing in front of me, and you said, ‘Ray, what do you want me to do for you?’ I wouldn’t know what to say.” Romans 8:26 reminds us that sometimes we don’t know how to pray. There are moments when the pressure is so great, and we are so tired and worn out and life has become so confusing that we don’t know what to say to the Lord.
Fatigue wears us all down eventually.
I have found in those moments that if all I can do is cry out, “O God, O Jesus. Have mercy, Lord, have mercy,” then that is enough. The Lord who knows all things can fill in the details. People sometimes ask for more information, so they can “pray more intelligently.” I’m all for that, but it’s not like the Lord needs more information from us or that better information will somehow make our prayers “better” with the Lord.
When we are confused, Jesus is not confused.
Sometimes we are puzzled and perplexed by life.
Sometimes we are bewildered and unsure.
We are not driven to despair because life doesn’t depend on our knowledge of the big picture. When we are at our wit’s end, God is just getting started. He does his best work when we have given up completely.
More and more I am convinced our best apologetic to the watching world is not some argument we make to prove Jesus rose from the dead (as important as that is). To a large degree, our friends will judge our Christianity by how we respond when we take it on the chin. Tim Keller says we need a theology of suffering if we’re going to reach this generation. He’s right. If Christians are truly the light of the world, when is the light most likely to be seen? In the bright sun of midday or in the darkness of the night? The answer is obvious. And it’s not as if we must choose. We are the light of the world 24 hours a day. But our testimony given during hardship and sorrow will resonate more loudly because it comes at midnight.
Anyone can sing when the sun is shining.
If we can still sing at midnight, the world will hear us differently.
Heavenly Father, give me gritty faith so that the world may know Jesus is enough even in the hardest times. Amen.
Musical bonus: Red Mountain Music produces new music for older hymn texts. Here’s an updated version of Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, written by Charles Wesley.
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