For the Christian, God always hands us things that are good and grow us to look like Jesus, God’s own greatest treasure. These things he hands us for our good can be both joyful and painful. God is doing a secret work in the hidden places of our heart that we cannot always see, those secrets belong to Him. As he's working, we may be experiencing confusion, frustration, and crying out, "How long, Oh Lord?" All the while, he sees the big picture, he sees the day of Christ's return in full view. He loves to move in such a way that all of his work will bring honor and glory to his Son on that day, when our joy will be unimaginable.
You and I aren't God. We can't simply look up and see the day when Jesus removes all tears and sorrows and think "oh yes, we are almost there." We walk by faith, not by sight. We walk by faith in the One who can see the hidden places, the coming glory, and the end of all suffering when he reveals how he points us to Jesus. And we trust him when he hands us a disease, a longing for change, a difficult job, a child with special needs, a death of of someone we love, long hard days as a parent, a difficult spouse, lack of a spouse, lower income, and the list could continue. But he doesn’t uncaringly toss these trials at us. He gently lays them down for us to have with the same goal in mind, pointing to the coming Jesus.
What is he doing? To us, our circumstance or perhaps the unknown future may be too much to bear. But to God, who holds all things together, he sees this as handing us priceless gifts, these trials, and in doing so, he points ahead for us, "Look! See!" And with our dimmed view, the road seems so long to us. "I don't know much longer I can do this." We often say. "This season is so long." We hear each other cry. "I have had enough!" We may utter in anger.
Does the Lord eliminate us from the earth for this lack of faith? No! He crushed his own Son on the cross so that he can cry "Look! Look ahead!" as long as we live. "Lift your eyes to where you help comes from!" He encourages us. "The day is coming that only I can see! Your sorrow is nothing compared to the joy I know will soon arrive! It’s worth it! It’s worth it! Get up!” And we gather our treasure that he promises to be good for us, and we keep walking. Though the pain and weariness may linger, we hear him say that there's a day when pain will be washed away. Not through medicine, sleep, treatment, or money, but with his very own hands. Today may not be the day, but there is a promised day coming.
If you, Christian, have forgotten that your circumstance is a treasure, remember that it’s pointing you towards your prize, Jesus.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”
1 Peter 1:1-8