A couple of months ago, my wife surprised me by buying me a new coffee pot. We had one, but I hardly ever used it opting to just wait until I got to work and get a cup there. The old pot didn't really get the coffee warm enough, so it was just easier to wait until I got to work.
But after she got me the new pot, I realized something. Now, I drink more coffee. This new pot warms the coffee better and it's more pleasing to drink. You see, I always thought I didn't drink much coffee at home because I could get it at the office. But the truth was that I didn't drink it at home because the pot didn't work very well.
As I thought about this the other day, I realized how faith in God has been sold many times like a new coffee pot. People are taught that if they just put their faith in God that all their dreams will come true, they will not have any more financial troubles, and hardships will be a thing of the past. I think this mentality has caused a lot of people to abandon their faith in God because honestly, they "signed up" under false pretenses. Life gets a little rough, and people just chuck it like an old coffee pot. When I went through my divorce, I came to grips with this mentality. As I was growing up in my faith, somewhere along the way I grew to believe that if I just followed God and put my faith in him, that life would be a cakewalk. Then at 22 years old, for the first time in my life, I felt like I was up against something that was beyond my control and there wasn't enough praying or church-going I could do to stop it.
I was at a crossroads. I could have abandoned my faith in God because, after all, it didn't work. It didn't shield me from this hardship. It didn't give me immunity from life's problems. It didn't even make the situation less painful. So what value was it? Well, what I've learned about faith in God is it's not immunity from life's hardships, but rather, it's the thing we cling to when the hardships come. Jesus said in John 16 that the believers (us) in this world WILL have trouble, but we can take heart because he has overcome the world!
So, hardships are a normal part of living in a fallen world. If life is getting rough, take heart. Christ has overcome the world. Just don't abandon your faith and toss it. A coffee pot can be replaced, but there is nothing in this world that can take the place of the love of God.