Each human being has his or her own cross to bear. Living in a fallen world exposes us to all manner of heartbreak, sorrow, illness, and tragedy. None can choose what particular burdens to carry. It is like a high stakes card game. We can play only the hands we each have been dealt. We cannot trade cards with anyone we feel has a better hand. The cards we have, we must play with accordingly. We do have a choice. We can learn to manage our lives around our challenging cards, or we can refuse to play at all. Carrying gamely on with our lot in life, and seeking God’s help throughout the struggle is what obedience looks like. Allowing the struggle to beat us down, and refusing to play is the ultimate disobedience. All the cards were chosen by God for each particular person to accept and learn to live with in obedience to Him.
Life challenges are never easy and sometimes they bring take us to the brink of death and despair but we are never alone in the fight. God is always there to help us stand, and walk through whatever we are facing. No matter how hard we believe the crisis to be, nor how weary we become, God is right there and He is saying, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
The apostle Paul, one of the greatest ministers in the first church, had his own cross to bear. Scholars are not sure exactly what limitation or physical ailment Paul struggled with throughout his ministry, but Paul called it a “thorn in his side.” He wrote in 2 Corinthians that three times he asked God to remove the thorn. Three times, God answered, “My grace is sufficient for you.” If even a great minister like Paul was subject to hindrances in life, should believers today expect to be exempt from them? To look at these trials from a spiritual perspective, instead of a human one, we come to see that God uses each hardship to build our character and to bring about His will in our lives. No sorrow or struggle is wasted. No cry of pain or despair goes unheard. God is hard at work during those dark moments shaping us into the image of Christ, and preparing us for His heavenly kingdom. His grace truly is sufficient if we will take His hand and abide in His presence and He wants us to do.
“ I have said these things to you, that in me you
may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
No matter what befalls us, God is there. No matter what political ugliness or natural disaster we see in our lifetime, God is there. He is in control, just as He has always been. Nothing happens without His knowledge. Nothing ever will. God abides with us as a husband does his wife. The Church is the bride and Christ is the bridegroom. One day soon, Jesus will come for His bride and we will be called out of this sinful and sorrowful world, and taken with Him into eternal joy and peace. We must be patient. God’s grace is sufficient for each of us until that wonderful day!
Dear Heavenly Father,
I praise You for Your goodness and Your faithfulness in abiding with us through all the trials and suffering we find here in this fallen world. I know I am never alone, not even in the darkest moments. I thank You, God, for the assurance that one day You will send for me and bring me to Your side. I long for that day, but until then, I will live in obedience to You.
In Jesus’ name, I pray.
Karen Butler Ogle