The Hjelle Jar

If everything is supposed to work out for Christians then why don't I see anyone whose life is working out okay for them?

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One-Sentence Answer

The Bible never says that "everything is supposed to work out for Christians," and there isn't one believer in the Bible who had everything going perfectly.

One Paragraph Answer

The Bible never says that "everything is supposed to work out for Christians," and there isn't one believer in the Bible who had everything going perfectly. Nor is there any relationship between the amount of faith that we have and the number of things that go "right" (in the typical human sense) for any one person. Check out Hebrews 11.

"And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented - of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth." - Hebrews 11:32-38, NKJV.

The greatest people of faith - even Jesus and Paul - endured suffering and saw it as a benefit of the Christian life, even if it took a lifetime to bear its fruit.

"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." - Romans 5:3-4, NKJV.

Ten Minute Answer

So why do people - good people - have to suffer anyway? Okay, sure, Christ told us to. ("And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." Luke 14:27, NKJV.) And when we choose to suffer and when we allow ourselves to be placed in bad circumstances or persecution because of our faith, we start to see how God brings us through. (See Romans 5:3-4 above.) But, I think that there is another message that God wants to get across to us, one that is vitally important to remember in the midst of our own suffering. It is found in the book of Job. Job asked that question a lot, "Why, God? Why?" This went on for thirty-four chapters. Finally, God answers Job's question. You'd think that God would give Job a really detailed explanation, but no. God gives Job this:

"Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: 'Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. 'Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?'" - Job 38:1-7, NKJV.

God is proving His power versus Job's power, not telling Job why. Then, later, his climaxes with this:

"Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His? Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor, and array yourself with glory and beauty. Disperse the rage of your wrath; Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him. Look on everyone who is proud, and bring him low; Tread down the wicked in their place. Hide them in the dust together, Bind their faces in hidden darkness. Then I will also confess to you That your own right hand can save you." - Job 40:8-14, NKJV.

I think that this passage hits at the core of what God was trying to say to Job and wants to tell every Christian who is suffering in any way: "I [God] am in control and I know what I am doing. You have no hope of measuring up, so just face it. I'll bring you through." I know that is one thing that I desperately need to remember when I'm faced with suffering - remember that God has everything under His command and has for all eternity. He has done a rockin' job so far, and I know that we can trust Him 'till the end.

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