Two Choices: A Life With and A Life Without Hope
“Why are you still a Christian after so many bad things have happened to you?” a friend recently asked me.
I spent a long time pondering her question. I think our culture has latched on to the “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” message of Christianity and has forgotten that God’s ‘wonderful plan’ often includes suffering. He never promises to spare us from pain, but only to walk with us through it. In fact, most of His closest followers were brutally murdered. So you might ask, “why would you believe in a God who allows his children to go through horrible things? If becoming a Christian won’t guarantee me any easier life, then why believe?” Many find arguments against a loving God just by turning on the news.
Her question was in essence the age-old question of “If God is good, why is there so much suffering? Why do bad things to happen to good people?”
The reason I believe in God has nothing to do with suffering and everything to do with hope. As I see it, I have two choices. Each of us do.
One choice is a life with pain, tragedy, heartbreak, death, loss, natural disasters, abuse without hope. Without God and Christ, we have no hope of a life after this one. No hope of things “getting better”. Our purpose comes from whatever we want it to be, creating one’s own purpose, but nothing long-lasting after we die. So the earthquakes come, cancer takes lives, and pain shakes us to the core. But there isn’t anything beyond it. Cope and move on is your answer for this life. Try to help when you can, but know you can’t help everyone. More suffering will always be just around the corner.
The other choice is a life with the same aspects of the life above: pain, tragedy, heartbreak, death, loss, natural disasters, abuse. But this life is radically different in that it has hope in the midst of tragedy. Joy in the midst of heartache. The hope of eternal life for those who’ve been born into brothels, those abused, those left unwanted, those killed in natural disasters, those trapped under buildings, and those living with any sort of pain life brings our way. Hope that this life isn’t the end–that there will be perfect joy one day.
So why do I still believe when I see an imperfect world around me? Because I have experienced the greatest joy–indescribable joy–in a Savior. In a God who gives hope abundantly. Who stepped in to rescue us, when we were of no use whatsoever to Him. Both choices will definitely contain pain–but a life with Christ is filled with hope. What will you choose?
[song lyrics] All Things New
“This old earth is fading. And our hearts are aching. So we let go of our possessions. We watch and we wait and we hope and we pray. You will come and make all things new. We won’t be afraid, as we long for the day you will come and make all things new. All things new. We live here as strangers. In brokenness we labor. But we hold on with expectation, for the day of our redemption. Grateful still that you are patient with us all. Our struggle here cannot compare to what we have to gain.
Our struggle here cannot compare to what we have to gain.”
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