Dealing with difficulties in life
But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:10-12
God did not promise that life will be easy. This was the premise of Paul’s encouragement to Timothy from the text. Paul began this chapter by telling Timothy “that in the last days there will be very difficult times” (2 Timothy 3:1). The message of the gospel was referred to as Good News. Our Lord Jesus Christ traveled around to proclaim the gospel. “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it” (Matthew 24:14). We tend to equate “good” with comfortable, easy, and pleasurable. So as Christians, this is what we want to attain in life; everything under control and manageable. We try to arrange our lives according to our own terms. But little did we know that when life is under the Lordship of Christ, He is the One who should be in control. To God, good life is not just about a snapshot at a certain point in life but inclusive of all of life’s experiences that culminates into eternity with Him. There are certain things that come in life that we do not like and yet God chose them to be a part of our experience for He knows they become greatest sources of growth and blessing in life. This is what Paul was telling young Timothy. If you call yourself a follower of Christ, you can expect a lot of challenges and difficulties in life. This is also what the Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples. “In this world, you will have great trouble” (John 16:33). He just wants us to be prepared in the realities of being a follower of God. If you are serious in your commitment to follow Christ, expect that you will encounter great challenges. Your choice of making Christ the Lord of your life means that the enemy’s goal is to discourage you from your commitment. Also God knows that the only way we will appreciate victory in Christian life is for us to deal with difficulties in life. His love to us compels Him to not leave us just the way we are and unchanged. As you face difficulties in life, do not lose heart for God chose this adventure for you so you could grow in faith and relationship with Him. Be encouraged in the knowledge that ultimately God is working everything in your life “to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).