We’re here to talk about @JackieHillPerry, because you are quite gifted on social media. I’ve followed you for some time, always to great benefit. So I want you to talk with us for the next few days about some of your most viral tweets. I want to begin with your tweet where you admit your struggle to cling to God when life is easy.
You said it like this: “I wonder if with all the sermons & books on how to ‘hold onto God’ during suffering, if there should be just as much, if not more, on how to stay near God during seasons of ease. I’ve seen more Christians drift from God when life was a breeze than I have when life was hard.” Expand on that.
I’ve seen in my life that when I’m going through trials and tribulations and difficulties and hardships, I seem to be a lot more attentive to God than when life is easy. I saw it in the Scriptures when I was studying Deuteronomy 5, when I taught at the Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference. I saw it again in Deuteronomy 8.
Tested by Abundance
There was a section where God was showing them how he’s bringing them into a good land, a land full of milk and honey: “You’ve got water. You don’t have manna anymore. All of this type of good stuff.” Then God says, “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God when you enter this good land.” Then he says, “When you get there, don’t assume that all the good stuff is yours” (see Deuteronomy 8:1–17).
“I’ve seen more Christians drift from God when life was a breeze than I have when life was hard.”
I think in essence, that’s what we’re all prone to do. We do this when we enter into seasons where things seem to be abounding, where there seems to be an abundance. We’re not crying a lot. We’re not depressed. There’s a lot a joy. Everybody’s good. Your spouse isn’t getting on your nerves. Your kids are being real obedient. Your paycheck is coming in consistently.
When that happens, there’s this tendency to just forget about God. So, remember that these good gifts are about God, that these good gifts are for God, that these good gifts came from God.
Paul encouraged me personally when I was reading Philippians 4. He talks about how he learned to be abased and abound. He learned to have lack and abundance. He knew that because he gets his strength from the Lord.
I think many times we read that text to say, “Oh, I’m struggling with stuff. I need God’s strength.” No! Even when you’re not struggling, you need God’s strength because you are completely and always needy.
When you have a lot a good things going on in your life, I think you forget you’re as needy as you are. I think if we keep Jesus before our eyes and see that we always need him, whatever season we are in, then we’ll be able to resist the temptation to stray from him when life is all good.
Yeah, that is really good and helpful. This is the flip side of Psalm 73; it’s the prosperity gospel. If my life’s a breeze then God must be happy with me.
God’s kindness is layered. I think God’s kindness looks different depending on the season.
“Good gifts are about God. Good gifts are for God. Good gifts came from God.”
When you look at Jesus, Jesus was the most pleasing thing to God, and his life was really hard. I could never assume that my suffering, or the lack thereof, is somehow related to God’s view of me or affection for me.
He is always good. He always loves me because I am in Christ Jesus. He created me for himself. I think, if anything, what I’ve learned about the character of God, and my trials, is that God really wants me to know him and he’s willing to do that by any means necessary.
If that means pain, then he’s willing to do that because really in my suffering, that’s when I look the most like Jesus, because I’m able to see him rightly.