So it’s no secret that people like to feel good. Shoot, I like to feel good. Even Jesus liked to feel good. When he was praying in the garden before his death and asking God to take away the terrible task that was being called to do, my guess is that he was not looking forward to the displeasure (to put it mildly) that was about to come. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel comfortable. That is not in question - we don’t have to be constant martyrs and spiritual sadists. But what if God is calling you to something that is not comfortable?
When my stomach growls (and sometimes even when it doesn’t), I immediately head to the fridge or to a local restaurant to make myself feel better. But am I willing to lose out on the wonderful taste of that cheesecake in order to take better care of my body? Or what if God is asking me to fast and pray for a time? Am I willing? Or what if I do find myself at the end of the month with little to eat in the cupboards? Do I still trust him to provide for me or do I worry and stress and make myself sick over finances and physical needs?
What if you have found yourself in a place that provides no spiritual encouragement for yourself or your family but you have a good job or are in a good school system? Would you move? Would you leave your job? What if your kids began finding themselves regularly unable to be a part of spiritual activities because of sports? Would you pull your kid from the team? Would you be willing to leave the things that society deems important in order to ensure spiritual growth?
All of us want to spend our lives with that perfect someone. Some of us have been blessed with compatible spouses that are blessings. Some of us haven’t. Are you in such a rush to be in a relationship that you run into the arms of anyone, or do you put your own wants aside until God provides you with someone. Or what if God has called you to be single? What if he is asking you to sacrifice that deep longing for love in order to be able to more fully give yourself to Him? Are you willing to suffer in order for God’s will to be done?
I hate cancer. I hate SIDS. I hate heart disease and strokes. I hate when innocent children die while evil adults seem to live on forever. But what if you are faced with your own death? Or worse yet, what if you are faced with the death of a child, spouse, or person who you love more than anything? Do you scream at God that it’s not fair and grow angry towards him for not sparing your life or the life of someone else or do you humbly accept that He is sovereign and while terribly uncomfortable, continue to praise Him through your storm? Through death, can you glorify Him with your life even when it makes no sense to you?
It’s not pleasant to hear but there is nowhere in the Bible that tells us that God’s first priority is to make us happy. His first priority is to make us HOLY. And if, in order for that to happen we have to face trials, struggles, and do uncomfortable things, then that is what needs to happen. We don’t have to enjoy it, but we need to endure it with a God centered focus and a heart that trusts in Him.
But we aren’t being asked to do all of these things alone. One of the many benefits of being a follower of Christ is that we have been given a helper. Actually, the Bible refers to him as a helper, an advocate, and a comforter. When you are baptized into Christ, you are given a gift. That gift is this helper - the Holy Spirit. You are no longer alone in your suffering. You have an all-powerful, all knowing, and always present ally who seeks to help you. All you have to do is trust him enough to be obedient as He works out the rest.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." Romans 5:3-5