“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” —Matthew 11:28-29
God does not treat Christians with favouritism. If a plane crashes, Christians die alongside non-Christians. Christians get sick like everyone else and are just as subject to loss, tragedy and injustice. We are all human beings facing the same conditions. As Jesus said, “The rain falls on both the righteous and unrighteous alike” (Matthew 5:45).
You might ask: “Then what is the benefit of being a Christian? This question itself expresses a misunderstanding of the Gospel. Being susceptible to outward circumstances beyond our control is the same for everyone, but the benefit of being a Christian is that we have “Christ in us” on whom we may depend. In every challenging situation, we are not alone. Christ’s presence is our security, our refuge and hiding place from which we draw upon His strength to sustain us.
At our weakest, we are often our strongest. God’s power is manifested in our weakness, and while He is never the author of pain, tragedy or loss in our lives, He will work out His purpose in them. As it was with Job, some of the most painful experiences are often the times when God will do His deepest work in our lives. Though we do not see it at the time and have no idea of what is going on, we can look back in retrospect and see how God was making us, not breaking us.
Paul makes a wonderful point when he says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). The benefit of being a Christian is not only in the strength and comfort we receive in Christ, but we are then equipped to help others coping with the same hardships and trials. The areas of our suffering can become the best ministry of our lives.
We live in a fallen world with fallen people and share a common lot, but we can truly experience the peace of God when we do not resist the hard times, but in them, be thankful for the presence and sufficiency of Christ. When Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,” His intention is not to be a quick fix in our time of need, but to be Lord of our lives, so that He can be our strength and refuge. In fact, as we abide in Him, He becomes our life, equipping and empowering us for any hardship.