Posts Tagged ‘Hardship’

I have often wondered to myself why people of faith allow themselves to suffer because of their inability to faithfully walk in the path God has lain before them.  Many times, I have seen people who know that they’re supposed to do great works for God, but choose not to, and suffer because of it.  I have seen ministries falter because the leadership failed to hear the voice and command of God and went a different direction.  I have seen churches who were once pillars of communities for over a century suddenly wither to nothingness because the leadership chose to follow the crowd’s desires instead of God’s.  And all the while, I’ve had to deal with the pain of watching the world burn, and not being able to do anything about it.

Many times as Christians, we are given visions and plans of great works from God, and when we submit these visions to the people, they are not received very well.  Many times, these same people, who claim that they are following the same God, feel as though these visions or plans are not in line with what God wants because it doesn’t look like what they believe God would want in their eyes.  As a result, we, the ones who have the vision and are ready to proceed, have to wait on God to touch the hearts and minds of those who stubbornly kick against the pricks and fight against Him.  In waiting, we have to watch God pick apart those who cannot and/or will not fall in line until they get in line, or are permanently removed from the equation.

I thought that going through the struggle was hard, but I find that in walking with God, the hardest thing to do is to watch people suffer, the guilty who won’t move out of God’s way, and the innocent that are damaged collaterally through the link between them and the guilty.  It is hard to see so many people not receive the benefits of ministries that could be taken to the next level because of men and women in leadership positions that stubbornly hold onto “the way things are.”  It is hard to see lackluster performances from people who relentlessly continue to do things the same way year after year, even though the way does not work.  It is hard to see kids feel neglected by church officials because more attention is given to adult ministries than are the youth.  It is hard to have these ideas, concepts, plans, visions, and innovations in our hearts and minds, and yet when spoken out loud to the ones who should help us, they laugh, scoff, and get angered because they can’t see with their eyes what they should be able to see through their faith.

So as I watch the world burn, I pray that God give me enough patience to endure what I have to see, enough kindness and love to see them through the process, and enough faith to know that one way or another, God’s Will shall be done.  And there’s nothing that anyone can do about it.

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(I lost the first iteration of this thought, so I can only hope that it comes out the way God intended it to the second time around.  Maybe this is a sign…?)

I often think about why I worship God less diligently when times are going well in my life.  I would expect my worship to God to be better when I’m not going through, because I’m so HAPPY that I’m not going through anything, thereby doling out public displays of affection to my God because I’m not going through tough times.  However, I’ve discovered that when times are not hard, my worship to God is not as authentic and bold as it is when I’m going through something.

In pondering this, God asked me a question:  “Why do you worship me?  What is your motivation to worshiping me?”  And I realized that most of the time, when I’m worshiping God, my motivation for worshiping Him, though it ought not be, is linked to my current situation.  And I’m worshiping God so that I can escape the jaws of my enemy, deliverance from myself, or assistance with a project.  Once I’ve come out of that situation, my motivation for worshiping God no longer exists, and thereby my worship to God lessens.  If my worship is linked to achieving one task, and not from pure love and devotion to God, once it is complete, the motivation is lost, and my worship to God either wanes, dwindles, or just outright disappears.

I’ve seen this far too often in the Scriptures, when the Israelites would worship idol gods when times were good, or how Samson fell for Delilah’s snares when times were good, or when Solomon married all those women and eventually worshiped other gods AFTER building the temple for God.  It seems that I’m worshiping God hard, like my life depends on it (which it does), when I’m going through something.  But after I’m delivered, or the task is complete, my worship to God dissipates, as if worshiping God is over.  I get now why Paul’s thorns were not taken away, because God realizes that without the thorns, I might just stop worshiping God altogether.  My motivation, then, for worship should not be dicated by situations, which change like the weather.  My motivation should be the fact that I love a God who, despite my flaws and shortcomings, loved me enough to send His Son to die in my place so that I could be called a Child of God.

My motivation should be like Joseph’s, who despite being placed in the pit, sold into slavery, wrongfully accused and placed in prison, and altogether forgotten about, consistenly worshiped and praised God.  It should be like Job’s, who despite losing just about everything, consistenly worshiped God, knowing that God “gives and takes away.”  My motivation should be like Christ’s, who despite the trials and tribulations of being chosen, used His love for God and His Will to place Himself on the Cross.  I should love God and worship Him, whether it’s sunny and 73°, or pouring rain and flooding the streets.  I should worship God “through the good and the bad…whether happy or sad…in all that I go through, because praise is what I do, because I owe it all to [Him].”