In hardship people seem to struggle and I’m not sure we get it right. Here’s an attempt to tackle the subject which is bigger than a small article, but runs on the lines an old friend helped me with years ago.
When devastating events occur in our lives how do we respond? How do we develop our attitude to the pruning-hook a heavenly Father takes to our life?
- Consider the Lord Jesus, ‘who for the joy that was set before him endured (literally ‘stayed under’) the cross…’ (Heb 12:2)
- Consider the apostolic command to:
|Rejoice at all times||1Thess 5:16|
|Rejoice always||Phil 4:4|
|Rejoice when ostracized and hated||Luke 6:22 & 23|
|Rejoice in being brought low||James 1:9 & 10|
|Rejoice in constraints||Rom 5:3|
- Or the examples of
|Rejoicing in institutional persecution||Acts 5:41|
|Rejoicing in being misunderstood||2 Cor 6:10|
Is there a way to reconcile the ruin of a career, thwarting of ambition, disappointment of hope, the loss of relationship, the devastation of family, or the destruction of home with this New Testament focus on joy and rejoicing which are, after all, commands?
At the last supper (John 15) the Lord Jesus called his disciples branches of himself. He said that any branch bearing fruit would be cut off by the divine gardener in that very area of fruitfulness and his purpose would be for the branch to bear more fruit in the future. Herein is the core of the rejoicing that is necessary.
Every son that is received is chastised, Heb 12:6 ff. Indeed if we have not known divine chastisement then in this same passage, Heb 12:8, it is made clear, we’ve not been begotten of a heavenly father.
Therefore we should rejoice in tribulation, Rom 5:3, at all times, always.