In C. S. Lewis’ book God in the Dock, he wrote: “Imagine a set of people all living in the same building. Half of them think it is a hotel, the other half think it is a prison. Those who think it a hotel might regard it as quite intolerable, and those who thought it was a prison might decide that it was really surprisingly comfortable.” Lewis cleverly used this contrast between a hotel and a prison to illustrate how we view life based on our expectations. He says, “If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable; think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

Sometimes we expect that life should be happy and pain-free. But that is not what the Bible teaches. For the believer, this world is a place of spiritual development through both good times and bad. Jesus was realistic when He explained what to expect in life. He told His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In facing life’s blessings and bruises, we can have the inner peace that God is orchestrating events according to His sovereign plan.

Christ’s presence in our lives enables us to “be of good cheer” even in the midst of pain.