I want to say a word to those of us who are in a time of ease. I’m not sure what your outlook on the future is. Some of us a glass-half-full kind of people, and some of us are of the glass-half-empty ilk. I’m not sure which one I am to be quite honest. But one thing is for sure: my future will have its fair share of adversity. Yours too.
Life moves in cycles. There’s a time and season for everything. My firm conviction is that one of the purposes for times of ease is so that you can rest up for times of trouble to come. That’s not the only reason for your present reprieve. Just enjoying the reprieve is nice in and of itself. But it won’t always be as easy as it is right now, assuming things are going easy right now for you. The day of adversity is coming.
Solomon puts it this way:
Proverbs 24:10 (ESV)
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
Being prepared for the day of adversity includes planning, to the best of your ability, how you will respond when adversity comes. One response to difficulty that you should rule out ahead of time is quitting. Fainting. Just decide ahead of time that you are not going to quit.
You can’t do this alone. You will need a Savior in order to keep going. You will need to do this “through Christ.” Solomon is not encouraging a moralistic, self-righteous, pick-yerself-up-by-yer-bootstraps mindset. He is stating the obvious. If you faint when the going gets tough, it means you lacked strength. So how do you get the strength?
From Jesus, you need to learn how to be content no matter what, how to have a lot and how to have a little, and how to be even keeled regardless whether you have lots or little. Paul learned to be content regardless of whether he was full or hungry in Philippians 4. He said,
Philippians 4:11, 13 (ESV)
…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content… I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Now, I think learning how to be content when you have little begins when you learn how to be content when you have a lot. When you are in a time of ease, work at being content. Don’t take your ease for granted. Rest up because adversity is coming. I’m not encouraging you to be a pessimist. I’m encouraging you to build strength for the day of adversity that is sure to come. Enjoy your contentment in times of ease, but don’t waste it. Learn from those times by thanking Christ for the reprieve and by asking Christ to prepare you for the adversity to come. And by deciding ahead of time that you won’t quit. You can do all things through Christ’s strength.
And if you happen to be in the day of adversity, realize that right now God is getting you ready for your ultimate time of ease. One blessing those of us who are in Christ equally share is that in the end, it will be great. In every way. For all of us. For ever and ever. That will be the day of our final rest. We will look back on the adversity of this life and say, “God has done all things well. It was worth it.”
In the meantime, don’t quit.