A few months ago, I wrote about the attitude of “entitlement” which seems to be plaguing our culture these days. However, I think I may have skipped over the fact that many Christians (and no doubt others, too) seem to think that we are entitled to have a problem-free, happy life. But is that what God has promised us?
In the book of Job, a book which has much to say about suffering, we find this verse, “He knows the way that I take, and when He has tried me, I shall comer forth as gold, (Job 23:10).” I take that to mean that Job, in the midst of all of his trials and suffering, somehow grasped, (though not fully), that God was at work in his life. He saw that God was “up to something” in his life—something good!
In light of that, I’d like to share a poem with you, written in 1919 by Annie Johnson Flint. She was a woman who experienced much suffering in her life, including losing both of her parents when she was quite young, as well as her adoptive parents later on. She developed crippling arthritis, but was still able to write poems and hymns that have been such a blessing to so many people who have faced struggles, pain and sorrow in their lives. The poem, which was also made into a hymn, is called “God Hath Not Promised.” I hope it will be an encouragement to you, as it has been to me. As we struggle, often with great difficulty, to cope with all the challenges of life these days, it’s good to remember the blessings and help which God has actually promised us:
God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
God has not promised we shall not know
toil and temptation, trouble and woe
He hath not told us we shall not bear
many a burden, many a care.
God has not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.
But hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
He always gives us the strength we need for each day. And when it seems like our trials are too much for us, remember what the psalmist said in Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you.” First Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you!
Jim Newman is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2367 or by emailing [email protected]. Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.