I don’t believe that God creates the hardship for us, but I do believe that if we are serving God with all our lives then our path will not always be an easy one.
Reference: 22b “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
Explore: We all like to live the easy life. We drool over advertisements that show grand holidays when all we have is a rusty caravan in the back yard, we put down students for being lazy when really we’re just jealous of their copious amounts of holidays, and we idolise the rich and famous because their lives seem so much easier with wealth.
And yet we know that luxuries, holidays and riches are not going to help us enter the kingdom of God here on earth. To enter God’s kingdom we need to follow His command to love Him and love others… and that’s when the hardships start!
I feel that Paul and Barnabas have earned their right to speak on hardship. In this passage they have actually travelled back to the place (Lystra) where the Jews persuaded the crowd against Paul that “they stoned him and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead”(Acts 14.19). Now if that’s not hardship, I’m not sure what is!! And yet it did not deter Paul. He continued on and even went back to the same place so that he could continue to spread the word of Jesus.
Application: I’ll be honest, I hate hardships. I’ve just moved church, I’ve just moved suburb, I’ve just moved jobs and it’s been hard and I’ve struggled. But I do know that through the hardship I have relied more on God than when I feel like I’m sailing through life. It’s during times of hardships that I look to God more, I strive to seek His face and to feel His presense. And it’s in these times that we truly enter the Kingdom of God. There is no better place than to be at the feet of Jesus and sometimes it takes a hardship to get us there. I don’t believe that God creates the hardship for us, but I do believe that if we are serving God with all our lives then our path will not always be an easy one. But that is the best place for us to be.
Prayer: Lord, hardships can really suck. Being in a place of turmoil can really affect our decisions and our relationships. Help us to rely on you in every part of our life so that we can enter into the Kingdom of God and always live for You. Amen.
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.