When I am frustrated and at the end of my rope, I sometimes joke with my husband and say "Where is my Easy Button?"-implying that if I just had this big, red button to push, all my troubles would go away, just like on TV (because everything on TV is true, right?).
I think as Christians, we often think God is supposed to be our "easy button". If we believe and have faith, go to church, do good works, and live according to His word, life is supposed to be easy, right? But God's word tells us different...
"When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one as well as the other.
Therefore, a man cannot discover
anything about his future."
Solomon is telling us to remember that both good and bad times are from God. He is always in control, not just when things are going well in our lives, but even in times of trouble and strife. But he also says "consider"...this implies that we are to take time, to ponder, to think deeply. God wants us to consider the bad times and linger in them, not always be looking for a way out or the next good thing to come along. Some of His greatest blessings come in time of trouble. To sum it up...God wants us to struggle.
I know...crazy, right?! Why would a God who loves us and cares for us want us to struggle? Shhhh...don't advertise that Christians don't always have it easy, it might discourage people from believing! Make sure you put on a smile and act like everything is perfect in your life according to the world's standards, regardless of what is true. Wait, what was that? Perfect according to whose standards? Oh...now I see, many Christians spend so much time putting on an image of perfection by the world's standards that they miss the plan God has for them! God does not want us to have the perfect, cleanest, most well-decorated house, the perfect, most well-behaved, clean and polished children (phew...that's a relief to me!), the best holiday meal, the newest car, the most prestigious job or title. He wants us to strive for His perfection...to be like Him!
"You therefore must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect"
This scripture is telling us 2 things...one obvious and one not-so-obvious. It's like the law of science that says "every action has an equal and opposite reaction". The "action" is that we are to strive for perfection in God's eyes, a spiritual perfection. The "reaction" is that we are NOT to strive for worldly perfection. God is not impressed by your car or your job title or even your ability to keep it all together when everything around you is falling apart. He wants you to fall apart, because only in the moment of desperation when you finally realize that you don't have it all together, do you realize you need HIM!
So there it is...no more Easy Button references in my house. No more looking for a way out of the current situation, no matter how much I may struggle in it. It is time to linger in tribulation, to cry out to Jesus and lean on His strength where I lack strength, to strive for the perfection of my Heavenly Father.