Right before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He prayed. “...Jesus raised His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You heard Me. I know that You always hear Me…” (John 11:42).
This prayer from Jesus is so incredibly beautiful, and it remains true to us today. Despite how we feel, despite how our situations and circumstances cause us to feel, God still hears us. He always hears us. Why then don’t we always get the desired outcome? Why can’t we see healing here on earth? Why do we have to stare death in the face and say goodbye to so many people that we love?
First, it’s because we live in a fallen world, littered with sin and satan trying to drag each one of us to the pit of hell through anger, grief, heartbreak, pride, hardship, and the like. But when we have Jesus, we know that death isn’t the end of our story. We know that “He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). We know that death has been defeated by Jesus, and because we believe in Him, we will never truly die.
Second, we know that sometimes things happen “... so that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). As Christians, the way we respond to hardship gives God a chance to be glorified to our unbelieving friends, so they don’t have to die. At first glance, that may not feel very fair, right? BUT, was it a fair punishment that Jesus was mocked, beaten, and crucified, so that we could approach God as we are, fully, in our sinful nature? Was it fair that an innocent man was hung and left to die, a slow death of asphyxiation on behalf of each one of us? It doesn’t sound fair to me. I once read in Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Faith that to suffer is to know Christ in the most intimate way because He suffered for us.
It just reminded me that following Christ isn’t a nicely paved, flat sidewalk. It’s a windy, bumpy, uphill climb, with a lot of deep and wide potholes. The climb requires work, perseverance, and faith. Jesus shed His blood, sweat, and tears for us, and if we are anything like Him, then why wouldn’t our race require the same? Life is hard. It throws a lot of really ugly things at us, but we must keep climbing. Because when we arrive to the top of our climb, we will receive the ultimate victory through Christ and the relationship that we have with Him here.
The gift of salvation is free. It’s open and available to everyone, who hears it and accepts it. Just because life has been hard and circumstances have you down, it doesn’t mean that God’s not listening. Rather, He’s patiently waiting for each one of us to call upon His name: Jesus. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
If you have questions about salvation and Jesus, please reach out. You are so very loved and treasured.
Thanks for reading! Let's keep climbing together. Have a great rest of the weekend, friends!