Christians throughout the ages have various testimonies in challenging times. Some have stood strong even in the face of persecution, and God has delivered them. A Biblical example is Daniel when he was thrown into the lion’s den and came out unharmed. Other Christians were thrown into the same lion’s den and were torn to pieces. Christians, persecuted for their faith, have been imprisoned over the centuries. Some escaped, some lived through the ordeal, while others were tortured and killed.
The question may be asked: Why does God let some live while he allows others to die? It can be hard in times of great distress to understand Romans 8:28 that promises us, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” The author, Eugenia Price, summed it up beautifully when she wrote, “God makes redemptive use of — everything.”
It is absolutely true that while God’s plans may not be as we had hoped in a given situation, His ways remain the best. When a person goes through a difficulty or tearful sorrow, there is a part of God’s own heart, filled with the beauty of His peace, that comes to that person. His sweet presence in the moments of our greatest hurts is a beautiful experience. The Apostle Paul admitted to being caught between two thoughts, concerning living and dying, when he wrote in Philippians 1:21-24, “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.” What a wonderful attitude that is ours because of the Holy Spirit residing within us, being our everything to get us through anything.
To die a physical death is liberating for every Christian because it ushers us in to see Jesus face to face. Death for the Christian is a release from all earthly worries, living in another place where tears and fears do not exist. I love the words of that hymn, What A Day That Will Be. One of the stanzas is this: “What a day that will be, When my Jesus I shall see, And I look upon His face, The One who saved me by His grace; when He takes me by the hand, And leads me through that promised land, What a day, glorious day that will be.”
Whatever you’re going through today, may your focus stay on the One who loves you so much, who is able to be your strength, who loves filling you with His own peace and quite joy, in the midst of any sorrow.