Who is God? Who am I? Who are these other people? These are some questions that we will struggle with at some point in our lives. When things are going well, these questions seem easy to answer. But, when we face trials and temptations, these questions suddenly become much more difficult.
Let’s consider a hypothetical situation for a moment: Perhaps one day you find yourself stuck on top of Palomar Mountain at midnight with two flat tires and bent rims after dropping your Cheetos (they are dangerously cheesy after all) and hitting a wall with your truck when you reach over to pick them up. You have 5% left on your phone’s battery and your wife can’t come pick you up because she’s at home with a sleeping baby. In that moment, how would you answer those questions? Would God still seem like a good and loving father? Would you put your confidence in the Lord to provide everything that you need? Would you be able to show grace and love to others?
In times of trial, who or what we put our hope in becomes apparent. When we face struggles, we start to see that our vision of the world has become corrupted and our view of God, ourselves, and others is skewed. These moments of utter despair are rare opportunities God gives us to refocus our sight and consider how we look at the world. Guided by His word and the Holy Spirit, we can start to set our sights on what is truly important.
In the book of Colossians, the apostle Paul begins his letter by reminding the people of Colossae of the most important truth that they should know. He reminds them that Jesus is at the very center of all creation and their redemption. He shows them their need for reconciliation with God, and how he accomplishes it:
“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” – Colossians 1:11-14
These are some amazing truths! Knowing that God loves us and has sacrificed so much for us, we don’t need to question his goodness. We don’t need to fear that there has been some horrible mistake when we find ourselves in difficult situations, and we get to see other people in a whole new light through the lens of the gospel.
Rather than despairing in times of trial, we can look at our struggles through “gospel glasses” and we can rest in the knowledge that God has already given us the best thing we could ever ask for. He has given us life, and that abundantly (John 10:10), through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus Christ. How much more will he give us exactly what we really need in every circumstance?