The previous Prime Minister of Australia who said, “Life wasn’t meant to be easy” could have been reporting back on a modest read of the Bible – or even a more thorough read. He could also have been reading one of the volumes that track the almost two thousand years of Christian history OR he could have just been observing his own life or the life of people around him. Most of us watch, read or listen to the news and the litany of horrors reported wash over our western-culture hearts and minds without causing too much discomfort – such is the effect of long exposure to ills that plague people like us who mostly live a long way from us.
There are a few streams of modern mostly western Christianity that have by-passed the Bible and want to presume that the blessing of God amounts to a life of freedom from pain, hardship and discomfort. Fortunately they are comparatively small groups. The idea that following Jesus is the key to ease and comfort is totally unsupported no matter which end of the Bible you read.
Having said that it is totally biblical to be convinced that God has a destiny for us. The Bible is full of promises to this end.
So what do we do when we think we have been following Jesus and trusting God. What about when we expend time, effort, money and skills to the pursuit of some goal we are sure belongs to God – AND SOMEWHERE WE COME TO AN IMPASS. What we think God was leading us into doesn’t happen in the way we expect. The situation that ensues so often finds us vulnerable, sometimes resentful and hurt and even embittered. We read everything Job said about his life and about God and feel a strong sense of identification. It could happen when you apply for a job, or two or a hundred – and get knocked back. It could be when you move to a place and the world caves in on you. It could be that you form a relationship that ends up in pieces.
What do we need to understand and what do we need to do in order to continue to have hope. What do we do to get to the place we think God wants bring us to?
I have just completed ten short audio segments speaking about this matter. Before you listen, go read Acts 16 from verse 6 onwards. Read it enough times so that you are familiar with the story.
I hope what you hear will be helpful.