For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3)
First, some fake news for itching ears: The Christian life is always easy. We are special because we have faith; with our faith we can speak wonderful realities into existence. Because we have faith, God automatically protects us from the misfortunes that plague those who lack the faith that we have.
Now for some genuine news:
As Christians, we do not have the power to speak wonderful realities into existence. We are not magically exempt from misfortunes, calamities, sickness, and plagues.
At first glance you might think that the fake news sounds much better. But here’s some genuine good news:
We have a God of all comfort. And our faith does give us something special that outsiders lack. When we are faced with misfortunes, calamities, sickness etc., we do, by faith, have a special ability to persevere through them. God gives us the grace to endure.
The bogus teaching that you won’t suffer or be sick if you have enough faith sounds good when you are healthy and the economy is booming. But what if you catch COVID and then get laid off from your job? Does this mean you are guilty of deficient faith?
Looking at Paul’s life helps answer that question. He faced much persecution and suffering. Does that mean he had deficient faith? Listen to what he said:
You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. (2 Timothy 3: 10-11)
Paul’s rescue was guaranteed until he finished God’s mission for his life. Indeed, each of us can say that God never stops sustaining and supporting us —– until we have finished with all that he has given us to do.
His guarantee does not give us our best life now but for those who believe it grants our best life forever. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)