Luke 13:30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
When life seems unfair, and when it may seem like God is putting you through things that are painful a word of encouragement is that some of the greatest heroes have gone through tragedies and hardships in their lives.
An example is Horatio Spafford, who wrote one of the greatest Christian hymns of all time titled “It is well with my soul”
“In 1871, Horatio Spafford, a prosperous lawyer and devout Presbyterian church elder and his wife, Anna, were living comfortably with their four young daughters in Chicago. In that year the great fire broke out and devastated the entire city. Two years later the family decided to vacation with friends in Europe. At the last moment Horatio was detained by business, and Anna and the girls went on ahead, sailing on the ocean liner S.S. Ville de Havre. On November 21, 1873, the liner was rammed amid ship by a British vessel and sank within minutes. Anna was picked up unconscious on a floating spar, but the four children had drowned.”
Another great life worth considering is that of Francis Chan, he is a modern day very well known pastor that has great influence for the kingdom of Christ. His early years were not easy though and were plagued with loss and hardship.
“He was born in 1967. His mother died giving birth to him. After being raised by his Buddhist grandmother in Hong Kong, Francis came to America at the age of 5. His father remarried, and then his step mother died in a car accident when Francis was 9. Then his father died of cancer when he was 12 years old. The only close relatives he had were his aunt and uncle. But when he was in high school, his aunt and uncle got in a fight, and his uncle shot his wife then killed himself.
The losses were profound. Chan says physical and verbal affection in his family, particularly from his father, was rare. His only memory of affection from his dad came when Chan and his father were on the way to his stepmother’s funeral, and his father put his arm around him for about 30 seconds.
Francis Chan has an older sister Grace, older brother Paul and much younger half-sister, Gloria. He had family support from his father’s younger sister and her husband, Marion and William Wong, along with a large extended family and church family. He did not get along well with his father growing up, but says that his fear of his father has helped him understand a level of fear of God. He also stated he didn’t understand the love of God well until he became a father himself.
Despite a childhood filled with death, Francis Chan did not doubt the love of God. He recalls a childhood filled with church and belief in God. And by junior high school he began to understand what it meant to have a personal relationship with God. In high school, he began living it. By God’s grace and mercy, Francis came to know the Lord in high school in Stockton, Ca.”
According to this very same article Francis in his life has through God’s grace and influence on him has gone on to make a great impact, even giving away 90% of his income, he has planted several churches and had engaged the efforts against human trafficking.
-“On Sunday, April 18, 2010, Chan announced to his congregation that he felt called to resign at Cornerstone in Simi Valley to pursue what God had laid on his heart. As of April 2010 he stated he was not yet sure what city God had called him to, but by June 2011 stated publicly he felt called to San Francisco, CA. He moved to Northern California, and as of 2013, Francis’s website said he was “working to start a church planting movement in the inner city of San Francisco and also working to launch a countrywide discipleship movement.”
After a three-month leave from Cornerstone, Francis said he felt convicted to sacrifice more for God. Chan gives away about 90 percent of his income, doesn’t take a salary from his church, and has donated most of his book royalties, which have totaled about $2,000,000, to various charities. Much of it goes to organizations which rescue sex slaves in foreign countries. Furthermore, in 2008 it was reported that Cornerstone would give away 55% of its income to charitable causes.
In September 2014, Chan joined the board of elders of Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mountain View, California.
Currently, Francis is planting churches in the San Francisco area and recently launched a countrywide discipleship movement called Multiply with David Platt. Together, Francis and his wife Lisa raise their seven children in Northern California.”
What about Abraham Lincoln? Undoubtedly one of the best loved Presidents to ever live.
common list of the failures of Abraham Lincoln (along with a few successes) is:
1831 – Lost his job
1832 – Defeated in run for Illinois State Legislature
1833 – Failed in business
1834 – Elected to Illinois State Legislature (success)
1835 – Sweetheart died
1836 – Had nervous breakdown
1838 – Defeated in run for Illinois House Speaker
1843 – Defeated in run for nomination for U.S. Congress
1846 – Elected to Congress (success)
1848 – Lost re-nomination
1849 – Rejected for land officer position
1854 – Defeated in run for U.S. Senate
1856 – Defeated in run for nomination for Vice President
1858 – Again defeated in run for U.S. Senate
1860 – Elected President (success)
That looks like a pretty glum résumé, making you wonder how he ever made it to the top. But when you really think of it, to run for office or high positions so many times, you have to have something on the ball and have more successes than meet the eye.
A lot of people assume God does not like them if they go through suffering, but nothing could be a more inaccurate way to gauge God’s approval our displeasure. Yet natural human logic may want us to assume God blesses those he likes and brings suffering on those he hates. Not true, Jesus told a parable about a rich man and poor beggar.
Luke 16:19-25 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
We can conclude from this that the poor beggar obviously loved and knew God but the rich man did not love God or his fellow man. We see that the ultimate loser in this story was the one who appeared to be the winner but was truly not.
Jesus taught this story in a time where people viewed poverty and disabilities as a curse and a “sign” of God’s displeasure, however the poor man in this story was assumed by people falsely to be a terrible sinner but we see that death reversed both men’s positions.
For most of us, life involves the good bad and ugly, yet some people may struggle more then others but this does not mean God does not love these people any less then those who “seem” to be better off. In fact sometimes great wealth can blind people into self sufficiency. We must not judge by mere outward appearances of things.