I just finished a book. A decidedly none Christian, world view, self actualization related book. First, before the outcry begins, let me say there is nothing inherently wrong with books of this ilk. It was an interesting read and one that I chose purposefully because of the subject matter. It involves a multi-millionaire, a navy SEAL and working out. I’m pretty much broke, I’m not working to become a major Adonis but I am always interested in military men, their thoughts on life and their stories especially. Perhaps I’m wishing for something to have happened in my past that never did. I’ve been told I would have thrived in military arena and I regularly get thanked for my service or asked if I’m military or law enforcement. I’m always quick to clear up the confusion but still take a level of pride in being seen that way.
That being said, this particular book had some interesting quotes from the SEAL who was a main character in the story line which have had me thinking for many days and drawing correlations between these statements and my Christian world view. You should know first that I stink at being a Christian. I say that because I know myself very well, am extremely honest about my short comings and know that when others want to debate my standing as a Christian they will have plenty of evidence to both prove, and in their own minds, disprove my right to bear the moniker. Truth is I’m not perfect, don’t pretend to be and a person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still.
Still, I wanted to take a few of these statements made by the SEAL and draw some truth for the Christian viewpoint with them and at least show where my mind is at on such matters.
A Christian friend of mine was sharing a conversation he had with a non believing friend. The friend has a moral viewpoint. Do well to others, harm no one, be good and moderate in all things. The golden rule if you wish to use that as a guide. The friend has just recently been diagnosed with a form of cancer and is at a loss for why, after he has been so morally good all his life, should something like this happen to him.
My heart breaks for the friend of my friend. That they are dealing with such heart break both personally and physically. Platitudes are of no redeeming value to persons in his circumstance. One can only love them and help where possible and allowed. As a Christian the power of pray is real to me so prayer will be offered as well.
It causes one to think how one views and deals with hardship from a Christian point of view. Scripture tells us that God causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45). This is a statement of Gods grace and mercy to every man regardless of belief. That God cares for His creation regardless of their allegiance to Him or not. I find myself often being tempted to ask why me but I quickly remember, why NOT me. Just because I am a Christian does not exempt me from hardship just as being morally good would exempt my friends friend from having cancer. I am nothing special. I can’t do anything to earn something that can only be acquired as a gift.
The SEAL might make several statements: “If it doesn’t suck, we don’t do it.” OR. “Everyday is a challenge, otherwise it’s not a regular day.” OR “You can get through anything, because everything has an end.”
IF IT DOESN’T SUCK, WE DON’T DO IT: Hardship sucks. That’s a bit indelicate but so is life. It’s hard. We rub up against stuff in our daily life that is dirty, prickly, uncomfortable and just down right gross. Yes, there is beauty, and light and joy in many areas of our lives but we rarely notice them if there isn’t a polar opposite that makes sure these good things smack us in the face like a wet frying pan. Hardship sucks but it is part and parcel of living. We will experience death, injustice, confusion, slander, heartbreak, loneliness, bitterness and on and on and on in our lives on a regular schedule. Some days more bearable than others but as regular as the sun and moon. It just is. Therefore, EVERYDAY IS A CHALLENGE, OTHERWISE IT’S NOT A REGULAR DAY. As a Christian, I am taught through scripture that I will have hardship (1 Peter 1:6,7; James 1:2) It’s how I look at that hardship or more importantly how I will handle that hardship that is of great importance. I am an alien to this place. Not little green man from Mars or I’m from another planet alien but that this is not my original home. I am a spiritual being spending a set amount of time here to be sent back to a spiritual existence when my time here is done. I belong to God. I have accepted His free gift and placed my faith in His one and only son and rely on Him to provide for me both physically and spiritually while I am here and for eternity to boot. So, anything that I am facing here, broken down car, a broken relationship in my family, bad job, good job, rich or poor, physical specimen or cancer patient, is to be faced with Him at the helm, understanding that I have zero power to change anything and that regardless of the outcome He has a purpose for all of it. Therefore, YOU CAN GET THROUGH ANYTHING, BECAUSE EVERYTHING HAS AN END. Cancer has an end. Either you are healed or you die. Broken relationships have an end. Either they are mended or they are not. Name the issue, the trial, the drama, the disease and regardless of what it is, it will end. Sooner or later, happy with it or sad about it, it will end. I just have to endure it. I had a work friend that was fond of saying all he ever had to do was be black and die. I’ve used the same phrase only changing my race to be white and die. Invariably, some wisenheimer with add, “and pay taxes”. I remind them, no, they have to catch me to pay the taxes, the rest is without discussion. I can endure anything understanding that eventually it will end and most importantly, that God, in His infinite wisdom and will, is using that to bring glory to himself, or to train me in some way, or to use it as a way to minister to me or someone else, or any combination of the three He wants to put in play.
I’m grateful for my life. It is often messy and complicated. Uncomfortable and at times near unto unbearable. However, I know that He loves me more than I will ever be able to fathom on this plane. That He gave His only son to take my place and that He has a plan for me. I won’t understand everything. Hardship is hardship just like joy is joy and peace is peace. I just want to honor Him in the journey.