Have you ever heard a song, sermon or testimony where the person was describing a situation to which you could relate all too well? Perhaps it was a story of darkness and despair. Maybe the person was describing a time when they had lost all hope and joy in life. Whatever the case, you were listening and nodding your head, thinking Oh, yes, this is me and, at the same time, hoping that the person was about to reveal his/her secret to setting things right.
And typically, they do, but the answer was not that for which you were hoping. Come to find out, this "life struggle" took place before salvation, and once the person came to know the Lord, everything turned out fine. Immediately, your heart is crushed, and for several reasons. On the one hand, you're happy for the individual who came to know the Lord, but on the other hand, you're confused and dismayed. Is everything supposed to be hunky dory once you're saved? Do problems cease to exist? Does the presence of the Holy Spirit in your heart negate the fact that life is full of trouble? And if the answer to those questions is yes, then are you really saved at all? Because that has certainly not been the case for you.
I've been there, dear friend. So desperate for an answer to my problem that I was crushed when it was revealed that the answer was salvation. "But I've already done that," I've argued. I'm saved. I know I am. I'm living my life day after day, trying to serve God to the best of my ability. So, why am I not experiencing this sunshine and rainbows of which others are speaking? Well, to answer that, let me be blunt. They don't experience sunshine and rainbows every day either. Sure there are good days, but there are bad days too. And it's imperative that we realize that the presence of bad days does not serve as an indicator that we are not saved and partakers of the joy of the Lord.
My favorite Bible verse is John 16:33, and one of the reasons I love it so is because Jesus tells it like it is. He doesn't try to sugarcoat the truth to make it easier to swallow. He simply states the facts. One problem and one solution. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Did you catch that? Jesus is saying this so that we might have peace. So, how does telling us that we're going to have troubles give us peace? Well, for one, we know they're coming, so they shouldn't catch us off guard. Two, we can be assured that He knows they're coming, so we can trust that He'll see us through. And lastly, we can have peace because Jesus' statement didn't end there. He didn't simply state the problem, but He went on to give us the solution. Yes, there will be problems, but it's no big deal because He has overcome the world. In other words, He's got it under control. Keep in mind that Jesus was talking to believers at this point in time, so we have it on His authority that we can be saved and still have troubles.
The solution to the biggest of life's problems for the unsaved is salvation. After all, without Jesus, they have nothing. But if you are already saved and are still searching for the answer to life's distresses, I would like to direct you back to Jesus' statement. Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. Don't panic. Don't worry. Don't stress over it. God is looking on, and He knows exactly what you're going through. He is with you and will give you strength to overcome. Don't lose heart. Don't lose faith. And don't question a decision that you made long ago. Trials do not indicate a lack of salvation. On the contrary, more often than not, they verify that God is at work in your life and the devil is fighting against that work. So don't view the hard times as a curse but rather as a blessing. God is working, so you can rest in His embrace and be at peace.