It’s hard to live in a world of strife and brokenness. We groan for the day when it is all made right (Romans 8:18-25). Everyone suffers somehow. Have you ever experienced a trial in your life and wondered, Where is God in all of this? Have you gone through a health problem, a financial struggle, a marital mountain of confusion and chaos and felt like God abandoned you?
Elijah felt alone when he ran for his life from Jezebel and hid in a cave (1 Kings 19). Jeremiah probably wondered what he did wrong as he was lowered into a cistern and sank deep in the mud (Jeremiah 38:6). Even Jesus cried out those words of anguish from the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46; cp. Psalm 22:1).
In the moment of suffering, we don’t always see how God can take something bad and make something good. Like Job, we struggle to understand the mystery of God’s plan (Job 3:11-26). All we can see is the darkness around us with no light penetrating its opaque walls. We feel like we were handed a bunch of lemons, but in the eyes of God, they are the genesis of lemonade.
When Elijah felt all alone, God came in the sound of a low whisper (1 Kings 19:12-13). When Jeremiah was deep in the mud at the bottom of a well, God lifted him from his pit (Jeremiah 38:13). When Jesus died on the cross and all hope was lost, God raised Him from the dead, conquering death and the grave forever (Matthew 28:1-6; 1 Corinthians 15:26; Hebrews 2:14). Job was broken and destroyed, but God spoke to him and gave him restitution (Job 42:10-17).
Sometimes the darkness gives way to light in this lifetime, sometimes only in the life to come. Either way, light still wins.
Hebrews 11 records the faith of those who overcame their earthly struggle and received an earthly reward. But on an equal footing of faith, there are those who died “not having received the things promised” (Hebrews 11:13). They, too, received a reward; one that far exceeded earthly blessings, which the Bible calls “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
So, we do not lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:1, 16). The crucifixion gives way to resurrection. Darkness gives way to light. Death gives way to new life.
Easter hope fills the vacuum of despair.
Whatever season you’re facing right now, know that seasons change, but the constancy of the North Star never does. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). And if you think your life is a bunch of lemons, just remember what can happen when they are placed in the hands of God.