I just gotta brag on one of our college students, Jason Galloway. Jason has been at our church longer than I have I believe. He’s now a student at the University of Alabama in the journalism department. I sin with jealousy because of Jason since he gets in free to every University of Alabama (ROLL TIDE) game to write reviews, summaries, columns, etc. From what I understand, Jason was just awarded with the top journalism award in the SEC in the genre of sports journalism. I need to get this kid to write some sermons for me! Anyways, I’m most proud of him because of his faith in Christ. He loves Christ. He just went with us a conference in Louisville, KY on the doctrine of divine revelation. He writes a bi-weekly column in the “Crimson and White” distributed at the Univ of Alabama…and he uses this opportunity to share Christ. Here’s his latest (and first) column of the series.
You can also check it out online at (http://www.cw.ua.edu/2010/02/11/remaining-faithful-through-hardship/)
Remaining faithful through hardship
As a journalism major, I’ve always been told that hardship makes for the best story. And although a newspaper article does benefit from emotion, those affected by it do not.
I have always known this, but recently have found more truth in it than ever, so I felt this was as good a topic as any to write my first column on.
As a Christian, how does one deal with things like the death of someone close or the divorce of one’s parents, when it feels like God is out to get you or that he has forgotten all about you?
Well, it begins with prayer. Even if you can’t understand why certain hardships are brought upon the children of God, and if you even feel angry toward him, you must continue to pray and maintain a relationship with him. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
Satan will try to pull you away in times of hardship, making prayer all the more important to get through a rough time. It is difficult to listen to God and realize when he is lifting you back up if you are not also communicating with him – that goes for anytime. And the importance of prayer is not limited to the individual. In any occurrence, especially one that involves the questioning of faith, a multitude of prayer is the way to go. Make sure others are praying for you.
The other key to retaining faith during a difficult time is scripture. Don’t ever forget the power of God’s word. There are verses all throughout the Old and New Testaments placed for the purpose of showing the brokenhearted that we live under the power of a god who’s full of grace and abounding in love, even when you may not think he is.
1 Peter 5:9-10 says it all: “Resist [the devil], standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
But why does an all-powerful, all-knowing God allow hardship to creep into our lives in the first place?
First of all, sin allows us to see God’s glory more brightly. We get to see his love, mercy and grace contrast with the wretchedness of sin. Chip Dean, the youth minister at Capshaw Baptist in Harvest, Ala., gave me a great analogy for this: If someone was to live in Hawaii, the beauty of that state would become routine and usual. For someone who lives in Detroit, however, a week in Hawaii is the highlight of the year.
“God has us grow up spiritually in Detroit so he can take us to Hawaii,” Dean said.
But the real answer to why God allows sin and hardship is patience. If he wiped away all sin and hardship off the Earth right now, we would all be wiped off with it, because we are all sinners. God is patient in the fact that he is going to fix the evils of the earth – Jesus is proof of that – but not until more lives are saved.
Grief and pain are things mankind has had to deal with since Adam disobeyed the Lord in the beginning, but it’s not as if God plans to keep it that way forever, and it’s not as if he is not compassionate on those who are sorrowful. Lamentations 3:31-33 says, “For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.”
Do not allow Satan to pull you away from God when grief fills your heart. Remember that God has a plan for a greater good, and remember that he will be victorious in the end.
I write this in the name of Jesus Christ, the savior of the world.
Jason Galloway is the sports editor of The Crimson White. His Christianity column runs bi-weekly on Thursdays.