How to Accept My Blessed life When Others are Suffering
Living the blessed life meaning
Today I noticed the fresh blooms on the trees finally starting to emerge after winter. The cardinals and robins are eagerly taking their share of seeds from the bird feeder and life was too good to spend the afternoon inside. I sat out on my back porch and watched young families as they walked down a path nearby. I was just overcome with the simple pleasures that life has afforded me, truly living the blessed life. While listening to the birds sing and the peaceful calm of my neighborhood, I scrolled through my phone to update myself on the most recent Facebook memes and images captured from photography friends on Instagram.
Then my news alert came up. I read an article about how over 3 million people have fled Ukraine. One story was about a young grade-school boy who had to flee by himself. Another story was about individuals who fled east are now being contained in camps by the Russian military. And another story spoke of those who fled south now having to contend with human trafficking. Even those fortunate enough to flee west have nothing more than what they could carry and are in countries where they do not speak the language, have no place to stay, and no means to feed their family.
In 2018, 87.4% of Ukrainians were some denominations of Christianity compared to only 73.7% of Americans (2016). While these Christians are seeing their families ripped apart, homes destroyed, and life uprooted, I am in the US complaining about $4.50 gas. My question is, how do I justify my blessed life as a Christian in the U.S. while Christians around the world are being persecuted, killed, and imprisoned?
Regardless of Faith, Circumstances will be Different
The truth is you are going to live a very different life being born an American compared to those born in a poverty-stricken or war-torn country. Regardless of our faith this is a truth of our world, repercussions of decisions made long before we existed. But the realization we must face is that although we may feel guilty because we have a home, a safe community, and an emergency fund does not mean we do not suffer. You just may not suffer with hunger, poverty, or homelessness. When facing these types of challenges, it is much easier to call out the name of Father for aid, especially when we have nowhere else to turn.
We All Will Experience Suffering
"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted," 2 Timothy 3:12
Money and success bring their own challenges. A child in Ukraine may praise God for a warm place to stay, but an American living a comfortable lifestyle may forget for weeks to even speak to God in prayer. Instead of God being the center of our lives, he is someone we have to give time to on Sunday mornings before we can go back to our hobbies, jobs, and interests. Many are more likely to take God’s gifts for granted and to forget that we are all called for a purpose.
That money in the bank is not our own but God’s, given to us to meet our financial needs but also support the mission of spreading Christ’s message throughout the world. We are tested differently. In Ukraine, their test may be to have faith that God will deliver them from their current circumstances. But your test may be to look past the comforts of your life to help build God’s kingdom.
Christ does not say that some will suffer, and some will live a life of ease and comfort. It’s more of a message instructing us to enjoy the blessings of God because our time will come. One day I pray Ukrainians can return to their lives, but for now, their time of struggle is upon them. Forces of evil are using arsenals of death and destruction to place doubt in their mind of why God would allow this to happen. As we watch the changing winds of the US, we should fully expect that our day is quickly approaching. With this knowledge, we should prepare ourselves to suffer for our Savior’s sake. It may be our children or grandchildren who will see Christian persecution, but it will inevitably come.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Difference in suffering
One day we will see physical suffering as a preference to spiritual suffering. It is understandable to lean on God in times when you are out of options. But consider the inner turmoil when you question your need for God and take comfort in your own accomplishments.
I personally didn’t have a smart phone until I was married, that was when I was 27. Somehow, I managed to live through my youth without the ability to pull up Google maps to travel somewhere. I can’t imagine how, but I was able to find restaurants without recommendations from Yelp! It is easy to not rely on something you haven’t had. But once you have it, it’s hard to imagine life without it.
Relying on God
Some Christians have never owned anything more then a relationship with God. But here in the United States, we can’t imagine life without the safety of a 401k and health insurance. It is much easier for us to serve our comfortable lifestyle over God. This doesn’t mean to not save for the future, it only means to be a good steward of your finances while investing in Christianity. And that is not always about money, sometimes it is more about your time.
"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24
God has a purpose
We look for the answers to these questions like they are written in the stars, but they are not. We are promised that we will suffer for Christ’s name sake. However, we are not told how we will suffer nor why some suffer in different ways than others. The one constant is that God is there to see us through it all. He does not tell us to ask for help for one type of trouble but not another. Americans should not feel ashamed to ask God for monetary help any more than a detainee should ask for mercy from his captures. God asks us to call on Him in our time of trouble but to also praise Him in times of abundance.
The goal, no matter your socio-economic status is to have faith in God and seek His will for your life. We cannot lose sight that we have a purpose on earth. We are in our circumstances because of God’s plan and grace. If we are running from bombings that is not God’s will but calling upon Him for help is His will. God’s will may be to make someone with a giving heart wealthier because He knows they will give more. Or placing you in a position of authority because you will influence others to Christ by your actions.
But God can also use the events in places like Ukraine to show us the faces of true faith. People losing everything and still praising God, in genuine Job fashion, is an inspiration to Christians around the globe. These brothers and sisters are deserving of any help we can provide.
How to Accept The Blessed Life?
So, the lesson here? Do not feel ashamed as a Christian to be blessed with comfortable circumstances if you are doing what you can to further God’s kingdom. It may be as simple as tithing and as involved as leading youth groups and serving on missions. Only be ashamed if you are allowing God’s blessings to take center-stage over the God who granted you that favor.
I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
You have a great purpose in God’s kingdom, and everyone serves a different role to accomplish that purpose. Enjoy God’s blessings in your life but use that favor to discover and focus on God’s will for your life. We are only on this journey for a short time and nothing we have can be taken with us. Let’s show the world God’s glory by using our wealth, strength, and ingenuity to help others. We can do this by sharing Christ’s message and becoming an example of Christian living. Accept your blessings as tools to further the kingdom of God.