Tell me what do you do when you are working hard to honor God in your character and conduct, and yet you find yourself still being mistreated, misunderstood, and/or criticized? There is an old saying, "No good deed goes unpunished." The fact of the matter is that it can be perplexing, when doing the right thing seems to backfire or cause a negative outcome in your life. Today, I want to share three things to encourage you when life seems unfair.
1. The pathway to promotion is sometimes disguised as punishment! I’ve found out over the years that what seems like punishment can actually be God’s way of setting you up for a promotion. I can use my own personal health scare to prove this principle. For those who don’t know back in late December 2016, I had a mild heart attack. Subsequently, I got three stints and spent a few days in intensive care. On my road to recovery, I have spent more than eight weeks in cardiac rehab. Every time I got on the treadmill in the beginning or chose to eat a heart healthy meal, it felt like punishment. But in reality, those actions were promoting my body back to good health. Although a heart healthy lifestyle may seem unpleasant, at times, it is benefiting my overall health. My favorite Bible verse on the subject is found in Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Let’s trust God to bring about His purpose, even when doing the right thing seems like punishment.
2. A blessing delayed is not the same thing as a blessing denied! My experience has always been while we are waiting; our God is working behind the scenes on our behalf! Always remember, when it comes to your prayers there is a distinct difference between "No" and "Not yet." The Bible says it best in Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Even when life seems unfair, we have to continue to do the right thing, trusting that in God’s timing we will ultimately experience positive results.
3. All of our efforts will be worth it in the end! Hebrews 12:2 gives us a glimpse into how Jesus handled moments in life that seemed unfair. It reads, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." I truly believe that one of the reasons Jesus’ was able to bear the hardship of dying on the cross was because He chose to focus on the prize, not the pain. In other words, He turned his attention to where he was going to, not what He was going through. I believe one of the best things we can do when life seems unfair is to change our focus. In the gym, I choose to focus on the prize of good health and not the pain of the treadmill. You should do the same in your life. When things get rough on your pathway to success, look beyond the current pain and visualize your future prize.
Yes, there are times when this life seems so unfair. We are often mistreated, misunderstood, and/or criticized for doing the right things in life. Yet, if we can remember that promotion is often disguised as punishment, a blessing delayed is not the same thing as a blessing denied, and that our efforts will be worth it in the end, we can overcome the most difficult moments in our lives. I leave you today with the words found in Psalm 27:13-14, "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living (14) Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."
Pastor Cornell Maltbia is senior pastor at True Holiness Saints Center in Conway. He serves on various nonprofit boards throughout his tenure of community service. For more information or to contact Maltbia, log onto trueholiness.net.