I usually do not make posts this long. This post may look like a tedious read, but please read it carefully.
Life is not bad, after all. No, life is not very hard at the moment, nor has it been at any strict moment so far, but neither is it especially good, but rather–mundane, regular, and systematic. There is no big “bad” and there is no big “good.” Does this mean that without big “bad” there is no big “good”? It is very natural for me to avoid the bad, the ache, and the pain. Who wants to deal with that? I’d rather go through the mundane. But am I missing the good by avoiding the bad? When I refuse to go through a trial, am I also refusing the triumph at the end of that trial? More importantly, is it worth it? Have I been passively, or unknowingly avoiding pain and hurt, and is that why life can get so mundane and regular? Perhaps. I know that we cannot shy away from pain, I say that in my head, but practically now, what does it look like to shy away from pain? Perhaps it means shying away from an opportunity to share the gospel, something I’m only too good at doing. Perhaps it means saving my money for something harmless and enjoyable, rather than something that may benefit most–like a trip to Texas, when I may wind up attached to all the children there. Perhaps it means not smiling at a stranger for fear of looking cheesy. Perhaps it means ignoring the starving orphan on the magazine page. Perhaps it means avoiding those hard to touch on topics in your every day life, not opening yourself up to help for fear of hurt, not wanting to listen to the pain of another, not caring about the people in less fortunate places, because after all there is not a whole lot you can do, right? Or can you?
Now we must ask: What will make us most happy in life? What have we been put in this life to do? What is man’s chief end? You can probably quote the old catechism–“To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” So if I really believe that I will be most satisfied in God, I can’t avoid doing his work if it involves pain, and God clearly does works through trials. James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious that gold that perishes thought it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The Bible says clearly that trials are for our benefit, trials are for the work of God and the gospel, trials will bring us closer to God and God is what will make us most happy, right? So can I encourage us to be more open to trials? More open to working for God? More open to criticism when witnessing, heartbreak when leaving friends, and more open to sharing the pain of others?
Well, what about my own life? I can’t simply tell others to do what I am so clearly not doing. Will you keep me accountable? Encourage me do to the painful? You who know me well know that I would rather avoid it, but that is no way to live life, and I’ve decided, with the help of God, to live boldly. Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
This whole post has really been a big list of questions, so here’s the question I’ll finish with, Is your life living Romans 1:16?
(I’ve found encouragement from: How bold should Christians be?–by John Piper, and several sermons that he has on courage and boldness.)