“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
Rock music has never held a particularly special spot in my heart. Maybe it’s the screaming, maybe it’s the fact that most of it just sounds like random noise thrown together. I don’t know.
But there are certain days when I need rock music. Maybe “need” isn’t the right word, but it’s more of like a remedy for settling down certain emotions. For example, when I’m mad I usually turn on rock music. When I’m excited, I blast rap. And when I’m feeling emotionally bipolar, I listen to Ed Sheeran. He can always relate.
But today I wasn’t angry or mad; I was just content. So why I suddenly craved rock music makes zero sense.
Now, I don’t have too many rock bands I can turn to when I have this hunger, so I somehow ended up listening to Anthrax and Slayer before I felt like I needed exorcised. I instead decided to listen to Metallica, which I think is a little better.
Out of all the heavy metal songs I’ve heard in my lifetime, Metallica’s “The Day That Never Comes” is definitely my favorite. I have never payed much attention to the lyrics, but while listening today, my ear was drawn to some of the darker words from lead singer James Hetfield:
“When you stand up and feel the warmth
But the sunshine never comes”
Upon hearing this, the first thoughts that came to mind were of specific struggles in my life: things I’ve battled with, things I still battle with, days and months where the sunshine never seems to come.
So you’re probably saying, Tommy, are you really about to make a Jesus-related message out of a band that probably worships Satan?
Yes. I am.
…Now tell me God can’t bring good out of anything!!
At some point in your life, you are going to struggle with something. I don’t care how nice of a person you are, how ‘religious’ you are, how much money you have, how much you do for the poor (or how much you say you’re gonna do for the poor)…you WILL face suffering. So why not be prepared? Or if you’re in the midst of suffering, why not begin to build your life on Christ right now?
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is found in Matthew 7:24-27, where Jesus talks about the wise and foolish builders:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
One of the interesting things about this scripture is that while Jesus describes two completely different houses, they both get hit by the same storm. Get that? One man built his life up on Christ, and the other did not; but they still both suffered through the same exact storm. The only difference is that the man who had strong roots in Jesus’ words actually survived the storm.
To relate, at some point in both of their lives, they didn’t see the sun shine for a long period of time…but the man who built his life on the Rock knew of a day when it would shine bright again.
So what do we do with this?
As scripture says time and time again, we can learn to “suffer well.” 1 Peter 3:13-18 talks of how to master suffering well, and how to cling to the hope we have in Christ. As Christians, we will face suffering, just like the rest of the world will. The only difference is that we have hope to cling to; hope that Jesus is working out our problems, hope of an eternal life one day that will make our suffering right now look like child’s play.
1 Peter 3:15 says this: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
The hope that you have. So when we learn to suffer well—when we learn to embrace our struggles, endure them, and set our hope on what Christ has promised us—Peter says that we can present that hope to those who don’t know Christ and to those who are also struggling.
My encouragement to you today is to “suffer well.” If your life is perfect and there are no problems in sight, awesome! Continue to build your life on Christ so that when storms do rise, you can face them with hope and confidence.
But if you’re in the midst of suffering, begin to seek God and build your life upon Him. Set your hope on the joy to come, and realize God is fighting for you (Romans 8:28).
Right before the guitar solo—which in my opinion is an all-time great: not too flashy but flashy enough, catchy, and honestly, just straight fire—James Hetfield of Metallica screams out, “The sun will shine, this I swear! This I swear! This…I…swear!”
In the midst of your struggles, remember that the sun WILL shine again. And it will shine brighter than it ever has in your life. Put your hope in that promise. And if a Metallica song isn’t enough encouragement for you (and I hope it’s not), the Bible definitely is. Read it.