“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” Phillips Brooks
“Life is difficult. This is a great truth . . . because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult–once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. Most do not fully see this truth, that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy. They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be . . . . I know about this moaning because I have done my share. . . . The process of confronting and solving problems is a painful one. Problems, depending upon their nature, evoke in us frustration of grief or sadness or loneliness or guilt or regret or anger or fear or anxiety or anguish or despair. These are uncomfortable feelings, often very uncomfortable, often as painful as any kind of physical pain, sometimes equaling the very worst kind of physical pain. Indeed, it is because of the pain that events or conflicts engender in us all that we can call them problems. . . . It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. . . . It is through the pain of confronting and resolving that we learn. . . . Wise people learn not to dread but actually to welcome problems and actually to welcome the pain of problems.” Scott Peck
“God sometimes wounds us in our journey’s with him in order to move us out of an unhealthy, ‘tip of the iceberg’ spirituality to one that truly transforms us from the inside out. When these wounds come, we can deny them, cover them, get angry with God, blame others, or like Jacob we can cling desperately to God.” Peter Scazzero
“God disciplines us for our good,
in order that we may share in his holiness.”
Hebrews 12:10b NIV
Moving From Head to Heart
- Are you waiting for life (or the “spiritual life”) to be easy/painless?
- What’s wrong with hoping for easy/painless?
- Is desperately clinging to God the starting point of your coping strategy?
- What else would be part of your strategy?
Abba, thank you for forcing me to go deeper–however painful.
For more: The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
Thanks for reading, following and sharing these Daily Riches. Look for my upcoming book–Wisdom From the Margins: Daily Readings for more meditations like this.
“As much as contemporary believers might find similarities between our time and that of Christianity in ancient Rome, the two are not the same. The ancient Mediterranean world that Rome once ruled was a vast, culturally diverse set of societies, unrelated by languages, economics, religions, and histories, all forced into political unity by a brutal military. Vast numbers of people who inhabited the Roman Empire resented or hated Roman rule and experienced few, if any, benefits from its social and economic structures. The empire was not in any modern way even vaguely democratic or inclusive; instead, it was a rigidly hierarchical and status-based world of haves and have-nots, of masters and slaves. Unlike a Hollywood sword-and-sandal film, the ancient world was not a pleasant place absent conveniences such as sewer systems and running water. As sociologist Rodney Stark describes, ‘Greco-Roman cities were small, extremely crowded, filthy beyond imagining, disorderly, filled with strangers, and afflicted with frequent catastrophes—fires, plagues, conquests, and earthquakes.’ Unlike Western urban life today, where even the poor have access to marginally acceptable services, ‘life in antiquity abounded in anxiety and misery’ for nearly everyone.” Diane Butler Bass
“Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.” 2 Corinthians 11:25-27
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Is your faith deep enough and strong enough that it would sustain you in a world like the one described?
- Is the gospel you trust in and share with others sufficient for such a world? Would it make sense? Would it be heard as good news?
- Imagine yourself living in that world. What would it mean to live like Jesus there?
Abba, thank you for the cushy life I enjoy. Show me what you expect of me in my privileged time and place.
For More: A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story by Diana Butler Bass
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. If you liked this, please share it! I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)