Do you have a ‘Life Verse,’ one verse that encapsulates everything about your relationship with God? I don’t, but I’ve always dreamed of having one… “For God so loved the world,” “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” “There is therefore now no condemnation,” might be good choices. Better yet, what about those wonderful beatitudes that Jesus proclaims in the Sermon on the Mount – blessed, blessed, blessed.
These are great verses – sunny, hopeful, and well… full of blessing. But strangely enough there are other great verses in the Bible, verses about overcoming hardship, yet never once have I been tempted to pick them out to snuggle up with on a cold winter’s night. “In this world you will have tribulation,” “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal…” “For it has been granted you… to suffer for His sake,” somehow blessings seem to evaporate in light of their stark proclamation – life is hard.
The Happy Jesus Life
I didn’t always know that life was supposed to be hard. I grew up thinking life was good when blessings rained down and my cup of happiness was full. Life was bad when things got hard and suffering came and drained me dry.
As a young girl, in a sheltered suburban life I had a blissful existence. My parents were believers in Jesus and they taught me many things. I learned a church building was a safe place, talking about God was normal, and I didn’t need to fear the future because Jesus was in charge.
Life was predictable and safe. It was a warm, happy place – and it was good.
And it just got better. At the age of 16, I personally accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. He came to live in my heart. He listened to all my teenage woes. He wiped away any stray tears, and He filled my life with light and life. This was really good, blessings, blessings everywhere.
My cup was not only full – it was overflowing. This Jesus life was the life for me.
I’m not sure when I developed a leak in my cup, it happened kind of slowly, and it rather took me by surprise. But the leaks did come and some of this happy Jesus life just seemed to start seeping away.
Life Is Hard
It could have been when I discovered that my new husband’s idea of marriage – that it was all about him, didn’t mesh with my absolute certainty that the marriage was actually supposed to be all about me.
Perhaps it was that adorable baby girl who literally screamed 23 hours out of every 24, causing such extreme sleep deprivation that I’ve yet to recover.
Maybe it was illnesses, hospitalizations, infertility, constant moving, isolation, disappointment, and emotional distress.
All I knew was that there were leaks in my cup, and I didn’t think they were supposed to be there. My happy life faded and blessings were nowhere to be found. Add an unhealthy dose of false guilt, mix it thoroughly with pain and it all equaled one very miserable life.
Until one fateful day, I discovered that it wasn’t my life that was wrong, it was my understanding of blessings. Listen to Jesus explain it:
You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. Matthew 5:3-6 (MSG)
All of a sudden choosing, “In this world you will have tribulation…” as a life verse doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Tribulation doesn’t separate me from blessings, it drives me to the one true blessing, my God.
I am a little older and wiser than that naïve 16 year old happy Jesus girl. I’ve discovered that life is hard, people bring pain, and overcoming hardship is a way of life. And it is because of these things (not in spite of them) that I am blessed. As the Psalmist so eloquently said, My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. But as for me, it is good to be near God Psalm 73:26,28 (NASB).
Listen to audio “Overcoming Hardships” & Learn:
Does suffering rob you of your joy? Does Satan try to shame you because life doesn’t always go according to plan? Breathe a deep sigh of relief when you learn why life IS supposed to be hard and leave equipped, prepared to deal with those tough times.
- Discover hope even in pain
- Recover joy in the midst of difficulty
- Embrace God’s perfect plan – it may not be easy, but it really is good!
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