Life is hard. The world says if you don't like something, change it. If your marriage isn’t happy, try again with someone else. If you don’t like your job, find a new one. If your church doesn’t meet your needs, shop for one that does. To be happy is to be successful, and people know you are successful by what you possess or how important you are. You need all the information and communication in the palm of your hand. But it’s all hype. Life is still hard.
Even Christians offer hype as the answer to the hardness of life – just accept Jesus and all your life’s problems will be solved. God wants to bless you with wealth and health. Live by the formula in His Word – obey, serve, pray, claim His promises – and you will be victorious, happy, and successful in this world. It’s all hype.
God says life is hard. He knew it would be ever since Adam and Eve left the garden. We fight the frustrations of living and work that seems futile. Yes, marriage may feel less than beautiful, the job (or the job of searching for a job) may seem meaningless, and troubles may be closing in. As Christians, we don’t need to deny the difficulties or explain them away or hide them. We don’t need the hype. We can admit them straight-on. But we don’t stop there.
Because God offers hope – hope, not hype. The sweetness of hope comes when we kneel at the cross, (or in my case lately, when desperately grasping the foot of the cross). He offers to supernaturally sustain us as we endure life’s adversities. When we are misunderstood, or when we fail, endurance may be wavering, but we have hope that the misunderstanding or failure will not be wasted, that God will use it. Meanwhile, He wants us to trust Him, to trust in His goodness, even when it seems obscured.
When life is hard, He wants us to hope in Him. Through the difficult things, He wants to illustrate facets of His character through our experience so that we can really identify with Him. Even in the darkness, He enables us to capture glimpses of an incident from His perspective and in an enlightening context. Suddenly we can distinguish something shining and precious in the blackness. In the midst of suffering, even if we still feel blind, we have the hope that someday we will be able to distinguish the beauty through the darkness, when we are enabled to glance backward through His eyes after we have reached the end. Then it will all be worth it to explode with joy unexplainable.
Light is brighter next to darkness. Though it is night, joy comes in the morning. Until then, I will skip the hype and choose hope.