Get me out of here!!
There's a TV program on at the moment called "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here" and if you haven't seen this show, essentially the contestants go through a whole lot of challenges in order to both stay in the game and also win food. However, at any time, a contestant can say "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here" and their game will end.
I wonder as followers of Jesus if we have had similar moments where we have wanted to cry out "I'm a Christian, get me out of here"? When things get tough it is so easy to want the Lord to simply rescue us from our situation or circumstances and take us to a place of safety. But that is not always God's plan for us.
Challenges in life are one of the building blocks that God uses to build our resilience, to grow our faith and to increase our spiritual muscles. Time and again we read in scripture that our loving Heavenly Father allows us to go through trials, not to punish us or because He is mean, but because He knows that they are both necessary and good for us in our spiritual development.
Consider verses like James 1:2-4 from The Message translation which says "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."
Or in The Passion Translation, Romans 5:3-4 says "But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope."
So the next time you feel like Jesus has walked away from you because you're going through some tough stuff, know that He is actually right there beside you, walking the same path and encouraging you along the way. He never leaves you and He will never forsake you.
The next time you start questioning why you are going through trials or hard times, try asking a different question: Lord, what is it that you are doing in me during this time of trouble? It's a tough but necessary question to ask so that you always maintain a Kingdom perspective on everything going on in your life.