Recently, I received a comment on an old post in which I assured a reader that following God’s plan for her life is what will truly lead to lasting happiness. The commenter was upset with me for saying this. This side of Heaven, he correctly pointed out, is a “vale of tears.” Following God’s plan doesn’t always mean sunshine and rainbows; and in fact to get to Heaven we all must embrace the cross. How can I call that “happy”?
Perhaps I should have been clearer. Perhaps my words could have been interpreted to mean that I believe that the Christian following God’s plan will never face hardships or struggle through painful heartbreak. I don’t believe that.
What I was trying to say was this:
If you look at the lives of the saints—even those in the most difficult of situations (in fact, especially those in the most difficult of situations)—you won’t see gloomy faces just biding their time in this vale of tears until their happiness can begin in Heaven. No, the saints are such a witness to the truth of the Gospel because even in the most trying situations, they display an unspeakable joy and hope in Christ. This is not a denial of their pain or some sort of false, “Pollyanna” optimism. The saints are those that have true confidence in Christ’s victory over their suffering.
It’s the kind of hope that can only be accounted for by a life lived in Christ.
“Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15)
So dear readers, be free to feel your pain. Run to Jesus with it and lay it at His feet. Unite your sufferings with His sacrifice on the cross and be assured that He is with you in your times of trial and pain—and know that there will be many. But do all of this with the confidence in His love and of His victory over sin and death.
“Blessed is she who believed that what was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled!”