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To live is to encounter resistance to all that is good. Given the curse the world will naturally degrade as long as evil is in control. Even the sin in us resists God’s goodness. But our suffering does not need to lead us to despair. God tells us to hope not in this world but in Him.
We know that God is ultimately in control even though it appears like evil has control. Bad things happen. God offers His truth to us. Are you winning or losing the struggle between these two?
If I offered you a new, crisp one-hundred dollar bill, would you accept it? What if I first crumpled it up and submerged it into a concoction of oil, mud, and blood? The bill might be tattered and dirty, but it’s still worth the same amount.
The same is true for you. You have an enemy who wants to drag you through the mud. He wants you to forget who you are. Or, better yet, he’d like you to never figure out or accept who you are. You are valuable even though you have some scars and dirt.
Resistance is not Futile
You have a force working against you as you discover who you are. As you learn who God made you to be, the evil one will work to make sure you don’t believe or can’t accept who you are. He’ll try to get you to think you’re worth less (worthless).
Resistance is not futile (see Hebrews 12:4 and James 4:7). You can submit to God and resist the devil’s schemes. Fortunately for you and me, this strategy of the enemy will backfire eventually, like all of his strategies. How? Because whatever the evil one plans for discomfort and destruction, God can turn it around and use it for good. Even so, it’s important to keep expectations adjusted appropriately. The ending is awesome, but we’ll still experience some darkness, discomfort, and even some deterioration along the way.
Understanding the truth is difficult when life isn’t working out in your favor. In the end, though, the enemy can only redecorate your life. He can’t destroy it. What the enemy can touch is superficial.
Joseph is a great example of patience during suffering. His brothers betrayed him, and he still felt compassion for them at the end of his life. He saw his life events, the good and the bad, with a positive view of God.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.Genesis 50:20 ESV
Growing Stronger Requires Befriending Resistance
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.1 Peter 4:12-13 ESV
If you want to grow stronger, you must actively face some resistance. All else equal, in light gravity, you lose muscle and bone strength. In heavy gravity, you can gain strength if you resist.
You can’t live without hope but equally true is: you can’t live without exercising your body and mind. When who you are is under attack, you must resist what is false. During the process of refuting what isn’t true, you’ll learn what is true about you.
Therefore, whenever you’re feeling discouraged by life, remind yourself, “I have value no matter what I look like or feel like on the outside. This body I have today is temporary. My spirit is eternal. God will make me a new body in the next life.” And, bonus! God has already started the cleanup process, so you can experience some comfort in this life.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV