We still live in a fallen world and a world with built-in rules, both of which can result in pain. Some days we’re keenly aware of the fallen world and other days make us perplexed with “bad” things happening to us. Shouldn’t our status as God’s children protect us from this world?
The world is a difficult place because of our sin and all of our efforts will be hampered by either our sin or that of others. We were promised as much when thrust out of the Garden of Eden. There’s still good work to do, but it’s going to be much more difficult to accomplish. And then there are the perils of everyday life. We inhabit bodies that are slowly deteriorating and our minds are losing brain cells every day. We slip and fall and we drive into each other with our cars. One day we move forward and the next day we take a half step backwards.
I have a friend, a deeply godly man, a pastor, who got deeply depressed due to some life events and an illness that caused great suffering. He went a little nuts over the next few months and the journey he took led to the loss of his leg from the neglect of his diabetes. He’s recovering now and feeling much better. He’s essentially where he was two months ago except for missing an appendage. God is God and still, there’s gravity. His God still loves him, friends are stepping in to care for him and yet a leg is now missing. There are earthly consequences to our decisions even though our God has the end planned out and our good is assured. Yelling, “I love you Jesus!” before jumping off your roof probably gets you a broken leg even though Jesus will be pleased to hear that you love Him.
We wonder where God is when life rises up and smacks us in the head. Navigating through the pitfalls of living in a sinful world with a sinful disposition means that we will get battered and bruised along the way. That’s something we need to be ever mindful of. It’s not easy, but in the end, it will all work out. It’s a bit like going on vacation. First, there’s the planning, then the packing, then hauling stuff to the car in 90-degree weather and then the driving with the delays and traffic and unplanned bathroom stops. Officially we’re already “on vacation” but it doesn’t always seem that way until we get to our final destination.
Keeping the end in mind does help when going on vacation. The Christian has been implored to do the same, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (II Corinthians 4:16-18).
“Therefore we do not lose heart . . . for the things which are seen are temporary,” a good reminder, and a standing order.