At some point in all of our lives we will all be faced with teh challenge of things not going the way we we had hoped. It could be a job promotion we lose, an award that we thought we deserved and someone else receives, or something we diligently work for and it flops. How do we handle this type of thing in life, from a Christian perspective? And, if we have kids, how do we help them navigate through these types of experiences in life?
Here are some musings that I penned recently about a family disappointment. After one of our children went through a very difficult situation, I started asking the Lord how I should help them. Here are a some thoughts from this (in no certain order):
- Hard work does not guarantee success but hard work honors God and that is success.
- Results are in the hands of God therefore we glorify him no matter what results he chooses.
- Since God is good, we trust that what he decides what is best for us, even if it hurts.
- It’s okay to cry and be sad when we lose something. When we invest a lot of time in something and it doesn’t work out the way we hoped, it is harder (and hurts more) because we have so much invested.
- Nothing changes with regards to how God feels about us. God sees us in Christ whether we won or lost. He loves us no matter if we have failed or succeeded.
- We trust the Lord, not the results. The Lord never fails but results will lie to us. Hard work some times leads to success, but not always. So success must be long-term faithfulness to God.
- God is just as much God in the hard times as he is in the easy and good times.
- Others in the Bible and in history indicate they understood these things differently than we do as Americans. In Job 1:21 Job said, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” And then he said later in Job 13:15, “though he slay me, I will hope in him…” Martin Luther talked about his trust in the goodness of God when he said, “If the Lord told me to eat the dung off the ground, not only would I eat it, but I would believe it’s good for me.”
So how should we respond when things don’t go our way? With trust. Trust the Lord is good. Trust that he knows what’s best. Trust that the results don’t always speak of his unfailing love and they are not the best indicator of our faithfulness.