So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits him. All share a common destiny – the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.
Resiliency is a required character trait of any person in leadership. The path we will travel in life, the people we will meet and the challenges we will face, is unknown and unknowable except by traveling it. The words “no man knows whether love or hate awaits him,” refers not to eternity or the final judgment – we can be sure of our salvation in Christ – but to the experiences of earthly life. We know that hardships and challenges, betrayals and abuses, as well as friendships, blessings, and joys, all await us in life, but we do not know to what degree they shall come, or when or even by whom.
Our hope is found in walking in faith with God, hand-in-hand with Him minute-by-minute, and as we do so the ups and downs of life, the rough spots in our journey, even out and become smooth for us. Not necessarily smooth to the outside observer – I have known many great Christians to undergo terrible personal trials – but God gives the great consolation of hope and peace in our hearts.
And out of this hope and peace, we live and face our challenges, and are enabled to lead others. In fact, anyone who has never personally faced difficulties can never lead anyone. Paul wrote that in the midst of our troubles the “Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” brings into our own hearts His comfort “so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Cor. 1:3-5). Our individual struggles are unique to our circumstances in some ways, but in other ways we humans all share the common reality of struggles in life, and the comfort of God fits perfectly to every heart in every struggle.
All true good human leadership is leading people to understand and experience the help, wisdom, and love of God – not the imposition of our will over them. This is especially true in Christian leadership, but I believe it is true in all of life as well, in whatever sphere of influence someone is leading. Leadership must have a higher authority than personal human ego and pride; it must be grounded in the authority of God. And if it is grounded in His authority then those who lead must have their motivations and desires purified, tempered, and developed to the point that we desire nothing more or less than the will of God for this world – His best blessings.
We each are subject to the realities of the times in which we live, the issues of the day, the contemporary challenges. We sometimes muse, “I am a man born for another era!” but all such thoughts are nonsense. God in His wisdom had us born in this age, to live with and face the realities of this time.
Are you facing adversity today? Have you endured loss and feel that you cannot continue? Have gossip and lies taken their toll on your confidence? Are you facing challenges that you feel unequal to face? Are you surprised to find yourself in your current situation? This is our common reality in life, but there is an unquenchable source of strength available from God for us all. Sometimes God calms the storms in life, and removes the mountains in our way, but He always calms them in our hearts and evens out the inner paths of our souls if we learn to trust Him.
Praise Him today in the midst of your challenge, and thank Him for entrusting this circumstance into your hands. It is here, not some place else, but here, now, today, tonight, not some other time, in the midst of this life that we can experience the peace of God that transcends all human understanding. David, when he was threatened with murder at the hands of his own mutinous men, fell on his face before God and in His strength rallied them for the right cause (1 Samuel 30:6). And it will always be in the crises of life that the deepest need of our souls is discovered and the deepest touches of God’s power are received. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).