S56P12 – Ecclesiastical truths: hard times will come

Ecc. 9:12

Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.

No one knew much about her except for her name.  They never saw her coming or going, and her property was too private to see it from the end of that long driveway.  Her life was a mystery to her neighbors, and they often discussed what they thought her story might be.  As fantastic as their ideas of her were, the reality of her life was much less exciting.  The mystery of her seclusion was simply fear.  She dared not venture into the world beyond what she could control, because she feared the evil out there.  She had no interest in exposing herself to pain, misfortune, or hatred.  Unfortunately, she could not hide from hardship.  That controlled seclusion brought its own evils of loneliness and eventual madness.  The truth is that no life goes untouched by hard times.

The words of Jesus actually provide two promises regarding the evil times of life. [John 16:33]  The first promise is that they certainly will come.  Jesus does not tell us that perhaps we will experience hardship; He tells us squarely that we will see trouble.  It is an unpleasant guarantee but a guarantee nonetheless.  No matter how blessed we are in this life, no matter how much God loves us, troubles will find us in this place.  The second promise is the one that we probably remember more often.  Although the world will bring evil times, Jesus already has overcome the world.  We find solace not in the absence of evil times but in the presence of our Lord in the midst of those times.  That is how we are able to go out there and live joyous lives although the days come with pitfalls and traps.  That is how we can rejoice even during the trial.

We must be careful that we do not confuse defeating evil with escaping evil.  It is important to accept and understand that hard times certainly will befall us in this life.  Some of us might seem to experience more of these periods or occurrences than others, but we all will experience them at some time.  It does not mean that life must be some bleak thing with nothing to look forward to.  It does not mean that we simply stop living altogether.  We can live victoriously regardless of the snares that find us if we have the foundation of faith that prepares us for the appropriate response.  Father, give us what we need to accept and to conquer the trials and troubles times that come in our lives.