My apologies for linking to this late, it was posted while we were recently on family vacation and blissfully disconnected from the internet.
Not long ago, the folks at The Jagged Word posted a synopsis of one of their recent podcasts where they discussed the topics of happiness and fear in a COVID-ridden world. The quotes below point out our American Christian infatuation with happiness and ease in this life, two items that are not only foreign to Jesus and the rest of the bible but also foreign to multitudes of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ around the world today.
Within our society, there is an expectation of happiness. We want to enjoy life, we work hard to build a comfortable lifestyle, and we try to avoid hardship and suffering. But as Christians, we should know better. Suffering and death exist in the world whether we would have it or not, because this world is fallen and sinful. Martin Luther says in his commentary on John 14, “The Christian should always think, if peace and tranquility reign today, it will be different tomorrow. The devil can soon shoot a dart into my heart, or some other affliction can befall me.”
The thought, prevalent throughout Western Christianity, that God’s goal for you in this life is to be happy, that He doesn’t want you to suffer and die, is wrong. Your life as a Christian will be marked by pain, discomfort, heartache, and ultimately death. In last week’s episode of Ringside, Rev. Joel Hess addresses this head on. “Suffering is a mechanism by which you are strengthened, whether you believe in God or not. In the world of Christ, suffering is the stigmata. It is the sign of being a Christian. It is the experience through which you come to really understand the things you say you confess. When we ignore or avoid that, we cause a problem.”
Lest we be tempted to think that "every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before," (a most dreadful 'hymn') let us remember of the sobering but encouraging and faith-building words of our Savior that, "In this world you are going to have trouble. But be courageous! I have overcome the world” (John 16.33 EHV).
I encourage you to read the rest of the post and consider listening to the podcast. They are both great food for thought.
Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash