There are times in our lives when we are convinced that no one is able to understand what we are going through. Even when we know other people who have been through a similar circumstances we tell ourselves that what we went through is very different.
This happens because our focus is in the place. Our focus is squarely on us and what we are feeling. In turn this leads us to become consumed with circumstances that we forget about God. Focusing on ourselves becomes a vicious cycle that guarantees that we will continue to feel worse about ourselves as we become more isolated from other people, until something is able to come in and break it.
This is why I believe Peter’s command in 1 Peter 5:6 is essential for our lives. Humility is the first step that we must take in order to put things in their proper place, which allows us to deal with them more effectively. It also allows us to open our eyes to see what is happening to the people around us, which helps us to realize that many people are experienced equally bad events in their lives. Finally, humility helps us to remember that God is still on His throne working out His plan to bless the entire world through Christ Jesus, which allows us to remember that we are just playing a small part in a bigger story.
If we continue to look at what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:6 he goes on to say that at the right time he will lift you up in honor. God does not intend for you to stay in the depths of hardship, misery, and tragedy. This reality should add comfort to our lives, because it reminds us that nothing lasts forever, not even our pain.
We also need to remember that it is in these depths God molds us into the people He created us to be. Much like the refining process which requires heat and fire, the hardships of life help refine our character and faith. As painful as these time are God is able to use them for our good. God loves us so much that He will not waste the pain we experience in our lives. God promises that He will use it to make us more like His Son Jesus.
I want you to stop to ponder this thought for a moment. God doesn’t waste the hardships of our lives! What a wonderful thought to remember! He will use these awful experiences for our good. When Peter says that God will exalt us, he is implying two very important realities: the hardships of life are useful in our character development and they will not go on forever.
While hardships are necessary and God uses them to bring change to our lives, that does not mean that He is indifferent to our fear, pain, and suffering. God loves you! The fact that God experienced the death of His Son Jesus reminds us that God knows what pain is and that He is willing to do whatever it takes to rescue us from this world of sin and death. That is why Peter, who knew about pain and tragedy, is able to write that God cares about us. What a wonderful promise this is, and one that we often forget.
That God cares for us does not mean that He is not bothered by the hardships and pain in our lives, even those seemingly small events that we think are insignificant. God wants us to come to Him with everything on our hearts and to ask for His help and guidance. This will not make everything better instantly better, but we can be confident that God will give us the strength and wisdom to get through the situation.
James tells us:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking (James 1:2-5; NLT).
The only way we can look at life’s troubles and experience joy is if we have God’s wisdom to guide us. This is also the only way we will be able experience the reality that God cares about us, even when we are in the middle hardship. God loves us and when we go to Him in prayer He will give us what we need to get through the tough circumstances we are experiencing.
God desires that we experience life, but the problem is that in order to experience life we have to be changed. Change, as we know, often requires hardship and difficulty, which is never easy. It is in moments like those that we have to hold on to the promise that God cares about us and turn to Him for help.
I believe that if we turn to God in the moment of crisis He will provide us with the encouragement and the strength we need to get through to the other side. Why do I believe this? I believe it because through Jesus Christ God revealed that cares about what happens to us.
Questions to consider:
- Have you ever experienced a time when it felt like no one cared about what was happening to you?
- Do you believe that God cares about you?
- How has God demonstrated His compassion and care to you?