Prayer: God, I ask that you would give me peace through the suffering I endure. I thank you that even though life may come crashing down on all sides, I have your uplifting hand sustaining me. I recognize that I will never fully understand how you work, so increase my trust in you. I ask that even if life doesn’t turn out the way I plan, I would recognize and trust in your power and plan. Thank you for the hope you have given me in Jesus and the victory you promise when this life is over.
When Everything Is Not Okay
Everything is not always okay. Life doesn’t always work out the way we plan. We experience pain, loss, anger, frustration, and unmet expectations. Paul wants the audience of this passage to understand that our suffering is worth enduring to the end. God, through Paul, promises us a day where “creation will be set free from its bondage to corruption” (v. 21 ESV). Further on, he lets us know that things will be made right. We can see that God works for the good of those who love Him.
It would seem reasonable to read this passage and hear, “Suffering is hard but everything will turn out okay in the end for you, so keep your head up, because God will work everything out.” However, we must be careful, because this passage DOES NOT promise that God will turn everything around in your life at some point. In this life, we will have trouble, and we are not guaranteed that God will balance the scales in our life on this side of Heaven. We might live a long time with unmet expectations, unfulfilled dreams, pain, and loss.
So where is the hope in this passage? Paul is telling us that even though life will come crashing down at some point, we have a hope that transcends our temporary time on Earth. We will have trouble in this life, yes, but this life is not the whole story: Jesus has overcome this world. We are able to endure this life with a hope that even when everything is not okay, and even when we feel lost and destroyed, Jesus offers us the victory that He bought on the cross, and when we put our trust in Him, we are promised we will be raised in glory and restored after this life.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- Have you experienced unmet expectations about your life? What is your response to these circumstances?
- Where do you put your hope when things go wrong?
- Write out five hopes you have for the next five years of your life.
- Spend time asking God to help you trust him even if none of those hopes are fulfilled.
Romans 8:18-30; John 16:33
DEVOTIONAL FROM GRACE BIBLE CHURCH