The Value of Hard Times

Hard times. They come and go.

There will always be some people who are wealthy enough not to be affected by the vagaries of the economy. Their retirement funds are overflowing, their income is secure, and they are living their version of the Good Life. On the other hand, as Jesus said, the poor we will always have with us.

Some times are harder than others. We are certainly in a time of economic crisis, and we are possibly only at the beginning. Who knows how bad things will get? More and more of us will be identifying with the poor that Jesus referred to.

But, is this cause for concern? What about all the promises of wealth and prosperity in the Bible? Will we, as Christians, experience the same financial hardships as non-believers?

My husband, Pete, has a litmus test for evaluating the truth of any preaching. Will it play in Bangladesh? Will the truth being proclaimed hold up among people who have a substantially lower standard of living than we have? Is it truth where life is hard, and living as a Christian is even harder? Will those believers consider their lives and nod their heads in agreement? Or will they laugh at our delusions?

Promises of great wealth in this world for all believers doesn’t pass the Bangladesh test. The believers there are much more familiar with Paul’s descriptions of his sufferings. They endure hardship in this life, storing up their reward for the life to come.

Perhaps there is a lesson here for us. Can we not only survive, but thrive in hard times?

The next four postings will elaborate on this theme. I’ll tell my personal story, and you can decide. Can we trust God to provide for our needs? Is there joy in what some would consider deprivation? What might God want us to learn from all this?

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