Why is life so difficult? Why are there so many troubles and disappointments? Doesn’t it seem logical that if a person strives to live a good life, then only good should come? And if a person lives a bad life, only then, logically, trials and punishment should follow. Yet, we all know by a multitude of experiences that life just doesn’t happen this way. Life is so very complex. What we think should be right often turns out wrong. Why?
The short, succinct answer is sin, and its effect on all of us. Still, even though we know this answer, knowledge alone is not sufficient in times of trials. What can and should a believer know and do when troubles and disappointments come?
The answer is practical faith. The Bible tells us that the Lord will use every occurrence in life to bring about “good” in the life of a believer (Romans 8:28). The question for the individual is do I believe that? Do I believe that even during trials and tragedies of my life the Lord will bring about good? How can that be?
This is where we either practice faith or not. Faith means believing in our God even if we don’t understand. Our sight and understanding are very limited. We can’t see beyond the present. He can. Even if we could gain all knowledge our present world would offer, it would be minuscule when measured against the knowledge and understanding of our God. He knows and understands far greater that we ever could.
Since our God is all knowing, shouldn’t we be motivated to rely on him even if we can’t understand?
Consider Joseph of the Old Testament. If anyone had trials and disappointments he did. His jealous brothers treated him terribly. They wanted to kill him, but compromised and sold him as a slave. Instead of being angry and full of hatred at the evil acts of his brothers, we are told he became a good slave only to be misaligned by the lies of his master’s wife and sent to prison. Still, Joseph tried to do his best and his actions in prison show his forgiving spirit. From prison Joseph was later elevated to the second-most position of authority in Egypt. When his brothers finally came to him seeking food, a study of the story not only shows his forgiving spirit, but also shows how he directed the events to bring about the contrition of his brothers, and without rancor on his part!
Joseph wasn’t a “super-duper” saint. He had all the same sinful tendencies just as you and I do. Joseph had faith in God, and he practiced that faith when bad things happened to his life.
Faith believes God to be true and faithful as the Bible says. Our God is perfect. He is all loving. He can be fully trusted to only do what is best for us. He will always have our best interest at heart. Even at those times when we can’t possibly see the reason why. He knows why, and he will work it out for good.
When Joseph’s brothers finally stood before him, and he revealed himself to them, Joseph said, “Even though you meant (your treatment of me) for evil, God meant it for good.”
Joseph practiced his faith all throughout his darkest days, trusting God to do whatever necessary to bring about good things in Joseph’s life and the lives of Joseph’s extended family. All through the trials, he couldn’t see the end, but God could.
Susy Wetz is a member of Newport Baptist Church. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Janet Gossett at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if a Thoughts of Faith column is written at the writer’s convenience and sent to The Times, it will run the first available date.