In the Meantime
What do you do when there's nothing you can do? What do you do when you have a problem that seems to have no solution? Your job, your marriage, or your life is stuck. You're miles from ideal with no good options. What do you do?
What do we do when our circumstances are so challenging there’s no way forward and no way out? We have problems for which there seem to be no solutions. We have questions without answers. During times like these, we’re tempted to run or give up. We’re tempted to give in to jealousy, resentment, and anger . . . especially anger toward God. That’s because when life gets hard, it feels like God is absent, apathetic, or angry. But what if he isn’t? Is it possible to hang on to joy, hope, and patience in the meantime?
Every once in a while, we run into people stuck in unchangeable, unalterable, in-the-meantime circumstances who get to the place where they’re able and willing to receive their circumstances, their afflictions, their illnesses, their losses, and their disabilities as coming from the hand of their heavenly Father. How do these people maintain extraordinary faith despite extraordinarily difficult circumstances? Where do they find the peace that characterizes their lives?
What do you do when there’s nothing you can do? Relationally, financially, professionally, physically, or academically, It just is what it is. There’s nothing you can do to change your situation. Challenging circumstances can make you jealous or resentful. They can make you angry with God. They can breed discontentment. But the problem with discontentment is that it can drive you in self-destructive directions that will eventually leave you with regret. So, what is the secret of finding contentment even when times are tough?
Jesus told his followers that unavoidable trials aren’t aberrations; they are expectations. They can actually serve a beneficial purpose. Why? Because God can redeem, use, or work through the undeserved, unavoidable, circumstantial trials in our lives. But in order for that to happen, we have to believe and persevere.
When we’re in the midst of pain and suffering, it can feel like we’ll never be happy again, nothing good can come from our circumstances, and there’s no reason to continue living. But those are lies. God can redeem, use, and work through our pain. And when he does, we eventually have the opportunity to comfort others. There is a “Fellowship of Suffering.” People who’ve suffered are uniquely equipped and qualified to comfort people who are suffering.