Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.” (Genesis 15:13–14, ESV)

 Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. Life doesn’t go well all the time. In fact, though this is hard to swallow in our candy-coated theological world, sometimes it is in God’s plan to allow His children to suffer because of His timing and purposes.

Yes, I know. No one wants to be those people, much less hear that truth. However, we can see it in our world every day. Just watching the latest videos from countries where Christianity is seen as the enemy and a threat will reveal that. Some of you are in awful situations and are reading this in the hope that God wants everyone to have a much less painful life today.

And while that may sell books and fill buildings, the truth is that has never been the reality for all the people of God at any given moment. Consider these sobering words as a testimony …

Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Hebrews 11:36–38, ESV)

Sometimes God’s timetable and our lifetime are simply in sync in such a way that we will have to deal with much more bad than good. And what are we supposed to do in such circumstances? As Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16, ESV)

No matter our current situation though, we can stand firm knowing that God is working out His plan. And, we can be sure that He will reward us abundantly in Heaven for being faithful to that plan.