Rarely does our family have a vacation that goes off without a hitch. Usually there are a bunch of good interactions mixed with at least a few inconveniences or conflicts. We just spent a long weekend near Bristol, TN. The trip included some nice family time, delicious meals and fun activities. On the day of our intended departure my mom’s flight was cancelled due to the snow. The good news was that we got to spend an extra day with her snowed in at a gorgeous log house with a spectacular view. The bad news was the next day her flight was cancelled again and we had to take a detour to the Charlotte airport. Since we were driving by Asheville Rocky got fired up about introducing us to Twelve Bones Smokehouse. Lunch was amazing. It fueled up my 83-year-old mother for a ten-hour wait in the airport and a 2:00 AM arrival. We were so grateful that she made it home safely.
Of course, most people in the world would be thrilled if such “inconveniences” were their main difficulties. The ones I’ve mentioned are so minor in the scheme of things that some call them “first world” problems. It doesn’t matter how developed our countries are. We all have faced or will face detours, tough times or even suffering. Life is indeed a mixture of ups and downs.
In Sarah Young’s book of daily devotions called Jesus Calling she writes, “Give up the illusion that you deserve a problem-free life. Part of you is still hungering for the resolution of all difficulties. This is a false hope!” Young later states, “Human beings have a voracious appetite for trying to figure things out, in order to gain a sense of mastery over their lives. But the world presents you with an endless series of problems. As soon as you master one set, another pops up to challenge you. The relief you had anticipated is short-lived. Soon your mind is gearing up again: searching for understanding (mastery), instead of seeking God (your Master).”
Our hope cannot be in our ability to solve or avoid difficulties. Rather, it is in a God who walks with us through the good times and the bad. We will never achieve a completely problem-free life here on earth. Christians who glorify God in the midst of adverse circumstances often provide us with more encouragement than those who seem to have it all together.
Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)