I was greatly moved as I watched the movie The Insanity of God. It follows missionaries Nik and Ruth Ripken as they explore the persecuted church to see if all of the suffering is worth it. The Ripkens had a crisis of faith following the death of their son and their experiences with the struggling church in Somalia as relief missionaries. They were left with the burning question: “Is any of this worth it?”
Read Hebrews chapter 11 and ask that same question. All of the individuals listed had to accept great hardships while still under the providence of God. Abraham waited decades for God to naturally give him his promised son via a wife who was well past menopause. Ready for a nursing home, Abe was chosen by God to become a proud daddy.
did abe or moses ever wonder, “is it worth it?”
Someone else on the list is Moses, the pride and joy of the Old Testament. He endured the school of hard knocks: 40 years of being branded an outcast and a murderer. Moses’ next career was the dead-end job of herding sheep in the desert. Finally, God commissioned Moses, at age 80, to lead a people whose second nature was to continually complain and to question his leadership. Wouldn’t it seem that God would give that kind of job to someone young and bursting with energy? Instead, God chose a man with one foot in the grave. Did Abe or Moses ever wonder, “Is any of this worth it?”
Hebrews goes on to mention those who experienced mocking and flogging, and further, chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented (people of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, on mountains, and sheltering in caves and holes in the ground. (Hebrews 11:36-38) Did they wonder, “Is this worth it?”
The Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Philippians from the isolation of a prison cell. He was lonely, cold, missing and out of touch with his loved ones. Paul didn’t know if his stay would stretch into days or years. Yet, he wrote in Philippians 4:12-14: I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general, and in particular I have learned the secret of facing either poverty or plenty. (J.B. Phillips) The secret is total dependence on the strength of Jesus Christ. One’s own natural strength is never enough.
tough times may be the greaTEST gift
What kind of season are you currently going through? Has the going been rough? Take courage, you have the company of heaven and you also have the fellowship of believers all over the world who at this minute are calling on presence of Jesus to walk them through the dark. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] (Amplified). The tough times may be the greatest gift of all. It is worth it!