The western hemisphere is notorious for the defence of our comfort. If anything comes in the way of our happiness it must be demolished! This dream is marketed to us from a tender age and has become almost synonymous when we speak of the meaning and purpose of life, after all we're told our happiness and well being are why we are here.
This mindset is a staunch advocate for living the best life you possibly can whilst on earth and the acquiring of things to attest to the success your life is. This perspective has also found a home in the church, and sermons are preached from many pulpits that focus on the blessings that God gives. It's an unfortunate reality that a balance and biblical worldview about this is not commonplace for all; that God, though bountiful in gifts, is not our genie.
Many times the instability of our heart posture reveals itself when the security of our comfort is tested, when we have lost what we've acquired or when we aren't the most liked in a room. These times show us how much we fight for comfort and convenience.
I am no masochist and I don't particularly think I need to knock at hardship's door every morning for my daily dose of struggles. I have, however, observed a pattern that I believe marked the lives of those who radically walked this journey of faith before us. That is, reckless abandon. This resolve, I believe, is like malleable clay in the Lord's hands.
Promise of discomfort
An incorrect axiom which I believe informs our defence of this life and comfort is: if God is good and if He loves me, He is obligated to make me happy all the time. We don't see God and His words correctly and most times approach scriptures with many different lenses.
We see God's definition of good as what makes us feel warm and fuzzy. However, we see through scripture that His characteristics are immutable, so if He is good when He blesses us, He is also good when He doesn't. We need now to appreciate that our definition of good might not be the exact way God defines it.
I have observed through scripture that God's loving nature looks out for what's best for us and conforms us to look more like Him. His character of love and goodness appears to also mean that He does what is beneficial. There are many promises in scripture that reflect God's heart as a Father towards us, and we may be able to quickly quote a few.
There are a few of these passages that I've meditated on that are renewing my perspective of struggle.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (2 Timothy 3:12)
I'm reminded that if I am to go after this Christian journey, that coupled with it is a guarantee that I will be persecuted, well acquainted with trouble and I'll be hated. The message of Jesus is in direct contravention to our flesh and therefore we need to expect that we won't be everyone's cup of tea and might possibly not be in favourable situations all the time.
We however have the promise to reign in glory with Him. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.." (2 Timothy 2:12)
I was reflecting on my life and began to think if I could find an area that I'm suffering in because of my resolve for Christ. I couldn't find anything. Then I began to think that if I ran after all God has planned for my life, inherent in those would be suffering/struggle/discomfort.
I then wondered why I would choose a life that promises struggles? I unapologetically thought, because I love God and want Him to be glorified. However, I saw how daily I chose my comfort over His glory.
When I confessed Jesus as Lord of my life, He didn't present half of the package of who He is to me. And it's not inconspicuously written in fine print. If the entire cross experience were scaled back to a few cat o' nine lashes, for me that is enough proof that pain and struggle comes with this walk.
So in my subscription package to Christianity is also suffering. Hint hint: The life of Jesus and the disciples was riddled with suffering and people not liking them. It's funny how our hearts can reduce the smallest measure of hardship to mean we're not loved by God and He isn't good.
This therefore is an encouragement to be rooted and grounded in love and to renew our perspective of goodness to be aligned to His. It's always for our benefit and His glory.
Courtesy of Press Service International