“Life’s hard and then you die.”
This pessimistic sentiment can sometimes be truer than we as Christians care to admit. I’m big on authenticity and expressing the reality of how we’re feeling. As Christians, this is tough sometimes because we feel like we should always be happy and smiling. “After all,” we sentiment, “we’re going to heaven to be with Jesus someday, life’s good, right?”
But does that mean life is easy? Fun? Enjoyable? Is every moment something to smile about? Not in my life and I bet not in yours either.
Truthfully (brace yourselves), I sometimes ask God, “Really?!”. Or worse.
I remember all those years Patty and I were trying to have children and miscarriage after miscarriage proved a real challenge to my emotional and spiritual well-being. I struggled with why the Lord wouldn’t give us children. Then I came across Psalm 90:13-17 in my daily worship time:
Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.
May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.
Life was hard for Moses and the Israelites when this Psalm was composed by him—it was hard all the time. It’s hard for Israel today! Yet, Moses doesn’t emphasize the pain so much as moving through it. Read that again: Moses doesn’t emphasize the pain so much as moving through it.
Satan wants us as Christians to get into painful situations and put our spiritual and emotional cars in park. We’re tempted to stay there in the pain and dwell on it while those questions echo unanswered through the hollows of our head…“Why?” “How long, Lord?” “Where are You?”
Moses isn’t sugar-coating the reality of the situation and neither should we. It isn’t that our days won’t have trouble, affliction, pain, or turmoil. Being a disciple of Jesus doesn’t commute pain, it insulates us from it.
The trouble we face—of either our own creation, God’s direct punishment to us because of disobedience, or the cruelty of others—won’t stop because we’re Christian. Instead, we pray through it wrapped in the insulation of the One Who has overcome the world: May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.
Is life hard? Sometimes, yes. But when we die as faithful followers of Jesus, we are ushered into our rest in the presence of the one who said He would never leave us forsake us.