In his book The Problem of Pain C.S. Lewis said, “Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us. We “have all we want” is a terrible saying when “all” does not include God. We find God an interruption. As St. Augustine says, “God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full – there’s nowhere for Him to put it.” Or as a friend of mine said, “We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it’s there for emergencies but he hopes he’ll never have to use it.” Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as He leaves us any other resort it can even plausibly be looked for. While what we call “our own life” remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interests but make “our own life” less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness?”
If you are like me your first thought with this is to disagree. However before we rush to disagree lets think about what we learn in the Bible. Think about the Nation of Israel in the Old Testament. We know that their history followed a very consistent pattern. Rebellion against God was a major part of that pattern. Answer this, when did they most often rebel against God? Didn’t their rebellion almost always come in the times of the greatest prosperity? The better things were, the more they prospered and the more they were at ease, the greater the chance that they would rebel against God.
Think about the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. If you remember there were two churches that received only commendation and no condemnation and one church that received only condemnation and no commendation. Do you remember the situation that these three churches found themselves in? The churches that received all commendation were the churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia. The church that received all condemnation was the Church in Laodicea. The churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia were suffering from heavy persecution while the church in Laodicea was rich, wealthy and in need of nothing. The churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia were desperately clinging to Jesus while the church in Laodicea just nominally acknowledged Jesus.
These are just a couple of examples that demonstrate to us that we are much more likely to draw near to God in the hard times than we are in the easy times. I think this is interesting because of how often we are taught that the surest sign of God’s blessing on our lives is that we are at ease. We are told that if we are doing God’s will things will be easy and there will be no conflict or trial. When conflicts and trials come up it means that we are out of God’s will or He is trying to tell us we need to move on and do something else.
My heart breaks over how many people have been deceived by these lies and then crushed when they prove to be false. There are no telling how many people that have believed that if they just lived right and did the things that God wanted done that He would protect them from all trials and hardships. Many of these people are no longer a part of the Church because when trials and hardships did come, they felt that God had let them down. They became disillusioned with God and left the Church. The problem though isn’t that God let them down, the problem is that they believed a lie.
In Scripture there is a tension we have to understand and learn to deal with. On the one hand God is our defender and our shield. On the other hand in this life we will have trials, tribulation and conflict. How can I have trials, tribulation and conflict if God is my shield and defender? That’s what I’m going to blog about this week.
For further study read Psalm 3.
What seems to be going on in David’s life at the time he wrote this?
How did David describe what God was to him in this time?
What did this allow David to do?
How does this show that God is our shield in the midst of trouble?
 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, pg.96