Is it supposed to be this hard?
JANUARY 31, 2013
On the heels of Hurricane Sandy our group has been besieged with personal health issues, children’s health, betrayals, car accidents, churches closing, churches opening, and money running low. And I’m only reporting what can be put in print. The question, ‘is it supposed to be this hard?’ came up last week.
I’ll be honest. When couples talk with me about their excitement of starting a new church I want to tell them to run. It’s not a question of “if they will suffer.” It’s a question of “how much.”
A sign of a real Christian is that we continue to serve God especially in suffering. (Check out Acts 4:24). If we are only serving God for what we get out of it, then we are just in it for the benefits. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be the first to tell you that I get angry and frustrated when a devil in sheep’s clothing destroys a congregation. I won’t even attempt words describing my response when evil strikes by attacking my children!
Serving God in suffering doesn’t mean we aren’t bothered or that we don’t wrestle with God about it. What it does mean is that we still turn to Him. (Job) We take our wrestling, our anger, our questions and our sorrow to Him.
In Acts 4:28, Christians say that God allowed what had occurred. They know that nothing had happened that was outside of His control. Check out that chapter for learning how to pray. They respond to God in what is happening rather than asking to be taken out of it.
The place where they are meeting begins to shake, but they had become unshakable (vs 31). How so? Matthew 27 and 28 talk about 2 quakes; one when Jesus died and the second when he was raised. Jesus was and is the one shaken on our behalf!
Ultimately, we don’t have to be shaken by what is befalling us. Notice I use the word, ultimately. For yes, our first response is one of fear. (If God were not aware of how fearful we are, He wouldn’t address it so much in scripture.) Fear is part of being human. However, it doesn’t have to stop there. If we believe or return once again to believing that He is sovereign, our worry begins to dissipate. No, it’s not a once and for all experience. In the midst of a crisis, I vacillate often. The point, however, is that we too, can become unshakable. You may not recognize this process happening in yourself, but I do.