Let It Be

            Everything is a season. Both blessing and suffering.

           Everything is a season. Both blessing and suffering.

So, you think you have it bad? Maybe a thorough look at the condition of the world will give you a different perspective. I mean how many of us really have it that bad? Just see last weeks blog about this series on Hardship.

Our culture and scripture clearly include the concept of hardship in America. So, there should be no surprises. But, Paul writes about difficulty in the New Testament and puts it into perspective. In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul comforts those who are in difficulty and trials by off-setting the ever-present reality of suffering with the super-natural comfort of the Father.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

And, Solomon puts difficulty in the Old Testament into perspective. In Ecclesiastes 3.1 and 11, Solomon says that everything has a season. From birth and death, to mourning and dancing, to war and peace. And Solomon says that everything is beautiful in its time. A powerful reminder to redeem hardship.

"To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven; a time to be born, a time to die...a time to kill, and a time to heal...a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance...a time of war and a time of peace."

In these texts I want you to simply count how many times the concept of suffering appears as opposed to how many times mercy appears. Suffering is defined with words like tribulation, trouble, and affliction. These words occur about 6 times in the first text. Almost overwhelming isn't it? But, look at the way Paul counters the existence of suffering. He uses words such as mercy, comfort, consolation, enduring, salvation, hope, and steadfast. These words occur about 15 times. I think there is an emphasis we are to take notice of.

"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation."

And, look at the counter-balance in Ecclesiastes. For every hardship there is an answer. I want you to see that hardship is a reality. That suffering is apparent. But, you can count on the super-natural presence of God to bring consolation. That the purposes of Heaven are not delayed or forgotten. God is more focused upon comforting you than allowing suffering in your life. We just need to keep in mind that there is a season for everything. That includes hardship.

As The Beatle's penned those famous words in 1970 it has almost become a prophetic prose for our culture today. With the rise of hardship and suffering in our world, the words from Paul and Solomon, as well as The Beatle's, are great words of comfort.

"When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be"

Jeff Grenell