Hope Does Not Disappoint – Dealing with Adversity at the Cross
“I feel like I have been hit in the gut”. This sentiment was expressed by someone earlier this year when he was facing a difficult situation in his life. I had also been praying earnestly for this man, to receive the outcome we hoped for. From the human perspective, the answer to this prayer had to be yes. I begged, cajoled and prayed with great emotion. But it was not to be. The answer was a no.
It is in situations like this that we can start questioning our prayer life. I have others in my prayer list who face challenges in life.
When the outcome is not to our will, what do we do?
It can be quite burdensome because these requests are often not the selfish type – like asking for prosperity, better job etc. The requests my friends were praying for – were to avoid a divorce, health of a child, passing exams – are these not good things to intercede for?
We often hear testimony of “good things” God has done. Sometimes it borders on superficiality and emotionality. Every day issues are framed as great “miracles”. But we often do not get testimonies from those whose prayer was not answered are were answered in the negative.
Romans 5:3 gives a perspective on this. I can imagine in the first three decades of Christian era, the martyrs would have thought about this. Many would have prayed earnestly, all night, for deliverance from the lions or from being torched to death. Were their prayers answered? We know that thousands were fed to the lions, for not bowing their knee to Caesar. It would have seemed that a better option would have been to renounce Jesus, be let go, and then go home and secretly worship Jesus again.
Today, simple fear of being branded a bigot at best, or be sacked from our job at worst, makes many Christians hide their faith. Many of us can work for years with a host of secular friends without them knowing what we believe because we are afraid of tribulation and stress.
But Paul tells us to glory in tribulation. He set the underlying worldview (the indicatives) about this statement in the two verses prior – namely our faith in Jesus.
A true faith will justify (v1) us before God, and we will be reconciled to God (peace with God). Believe me, this first act of faith open our eyes to the majesty, power and glory of God. We will be so awed by his sovereignty and control of our lives.
Peace means we can walk through the shadow of the valley of death and fear no evil (Psalm 23). If this peace eludes us, we must go back to first principles.
Seek God and confirm that you have been truly justified by faith in Christ Jesus.
Do you truly believe? Is He now Lord of your life?
Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He is the suffering God, a concept unknown to all other religious beliefs. On the day of His crucifixion, He said “it is finished” (john 19:30). Nothing more needs to be done, not good works, not penance, not social justice, though these may be things we will do because of our love for God, not to attain salvation.Unanswered Prayer?
Wait on God. You will sometimes see his work only later. And we may see that if the answer was “no”, then it was for our good.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. Romans 8:28
Please contact us if God is speaking to you today about repentance and believing in Jesus for salvation.
Dr Joshua Thambiraj accepted Jesus as Saviour in medical school. He has a passion for preaching and teaching, and to share God’s word with those who do not know Christ. He holds a postgraduate theology degree and was ordained in 2002 and consecrated bishop in 2009. He blogs at the Sword and Scalpel Reflections.