Hardship, Suffering, and the Christian Faith

Check out this Spoken Word.

I have been writing this for weeks to accompany a message on hardship. A thorough look at scripture will prove that God heals and He can do anything. That nothing is too difficult for Him. And nothing is outside of His power. And because of this, if we are not careful, we can become entitled to blessings simply because we deserve it. Many of us think that we are immune to difficulty. Immune because we are Christians or because God will rescue us and save us from hardship.

But, we also see in scripture that God uses hardship and difficulty for other reasons. Whether to bring glory to His name, to get our attention, or even to mature us. Years ago I read a pamphlet from Book of Hope called My Broken Palace. The idea behind My Broken Palace is simple. We often picture our lives as pristine castles and portray our lives as ornate palaces. Without corruption or blemish. When, in reality, we are really broken. I see it all the time in America. A machismo that says, "I'm okay, you're okay." Pop psychology that cannot deal with the reality of suffering.

Among  so  many other  references  and  texts  in  the  Bible,   the  Book of Job,   Isaiah  43.1-3,      2 Corinthians 4 and 11, and Hebrews 12, each detail the reality of suffering and hardship in the life of the believer. And the promise of God's presence and plan in it. To sit at the table with Job and Paul someday will place all of our questions to rest. For now, we must believe and trust. For by both of these, we are either healed or strengthened to face the brokenness of our lives.

My Broken Palace

 See, in America we all live in A Broken Palace. A place for beauty AND beast. Of more AND least. Where Princes and Princesses, Kings and Queens – Where Dragons and Jesters all meet.

 My Broken Palace. 
 Where a frog is turned into a Prince. Where Princesses find slippers and Prince’s to marry forever after. Well, that’s how the story goes.

My Broken Palace. 
 You know how the story goes. We write new scenes to introduce our old lives. We cover rusted gates with paint. We fix broken arms with band-aids. We beautify pigs with dresses. But, you know, they are still rusted gates, broken arms, and ugly pigs.

My Broken Palace. 
 Where Rapunzel wonders what it’s really like outside the castle. Letting down her hair for a Prince to rescue her from her despair. It may look like a castle but nobody sees the hassle. The struggle. The tussle.
     It may look like a Palace but nobody sees the malice. The loss. Or the dross. Cuz we all live behind the mote and the wall. Behind the shrubs and the façade of the castle. It’s not what it seems. The marquee isn’t saying whose really playin’. Not for real. Surreal. 

My Broken Palace.
We sweep our brokenness under the rug or put it in the closet or say we don’t really have it. We ignore what we know is there for all to see.  
That we hate each other – and the weather. Get upset with our neighbor – or a brother. We tell each other you’re a bother – our parents to shut up –

Cuz we’re fed up.
Cuz we sweep our brokenness under the rug and keep it in the closet.

My Broken Palace.

Since hardship and trial are part of Christianity and Scripture, why are we so upset about hardship and trial in Christians and Culture?
We act like it shouldn’t touch us, it shouldn’t be us. Not in the US.
And not in my Palace.

My Broken Palace.
 But, this mansion, our bastion of hope and ultimate future, is where the pain becomes His platform. Where the mess becomes His message. Where the chaos is placed on His canvass. 

Where the tragedy becomes His triumph.
A Palace where
the King returns to His castle to rule. To crown Kings and wed Queens - who birth Princes and princesses - who slay dragons.