I just read a sermon today about the need for Christians to do more than maintain a museum of our faith. Our job as Christians is to dig for the truth of our faith (an enormous gold mine that is largely ignored), and to use that gold for ourselves, our families, and the world around us. It was an amazing reminder about the NEED to do the work necessary.
Life is not always easy; in fact, looking back on the last year, it has been very hard. We have had issue after issue, with a few poor decisions thrown in there (thankfully some great ones too). What are Christians supposed to do when things get tough? The world tells us that when things get tough, the tough get going. My study in patristics is not yet well enough developed to where I can tell you how the Church fathers interpreted all the scriptures about trouble. But I do know that in church, we read a lot of Psalms. There is a lot about trouble in the Psalms. So my baby Orthodox mind would say that when we encounter difficulties, issues, and struggles, we turn back to God, confess our sin, and ask the Lord to have mercy on us. Most of the time we probably view our struggles as “out there” when I would bet the vast majority of the time, the real struggle is “in here.” The apostles and all the early Christians knew what it was like to struggle and to suffer. James even said (James 1:2-4):
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
And most mornings (I am growing into this and hope to say “every” morning soon), I pray:
Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You.
I won’t lie, sometimes this really doesn’t turn out the way that I hoped and I end up curled up next to my husband in tears. Or in the worse case, curled up by myself. Either way, I am learning that difficulty always takes you in a direction – either digging towards God and others or away from them. I am praying for the former.