I’ve been doing my devotions from 2 Timothy for several weeks now. It’s a short book full of relevant and encouraging information for
all believers but especially those involved in some kind of ministry. I’ve been using John Stott’s commentary on the book as I go along and it’s been an insightful time. I’m learning a lot.
Here’s one of my take-a-ways: While the Christian life is full of joy and wonder there will be hardships too. Yep, the Christian life isn’t going to be lived out in a rose garden. I’ve always known this but Paul pulls no punches in telling Timothy that we will face many challenges. Jesus made it clear to his disciples when he said, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) No hedging that statement. So why are we still surprised when trouble appears?
We tend to convince ourselves that being followers of Jesus means we never have a rough day, no trouble can touch us. Or, that because we had a rough day we must have done something wrong, something sinful. Both conclusions are flawed. Hardships and troubles will come for many reasons and most of them have nothing to do with us personally. We just find ourselves in the midst of them.
The question we have to ask ourselves as believers is not “Why did this happen?” but rather, “How with God’s grace will I respond to it?” It’s an opportunity to rest and trust in Jesus. It’s a chance to grow spiritually and demonstrate how being a believer makes a difference.
Jesus does seem to promise us that there will be trouble. However, the rest of the verse goes like this, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Isn’t that encouraging? Yes, there will be trouble but Jesus has overcome all of it. That’s why we can face the challenges of today and tomorrow – Jesus has overcome. In the realm of things that really matter and make a difference Christ is victorious. So we take our hope from this, one day at a time. That’s enough to keep on going.