Dont Worry, It Gets Tougher
I just got through a rough week. Honestly, it has been a challenging month. There have been changes at work, papers due in my graduate program, a busy toddler at home and a beautiful wife who happens to be eight months pregnant. I led three different services yesterday in what was part of a ten hour work day. Last night I was tired and in a bad mood. I mulled over the days and weeks and could only see that which I could have done better; the things that I should have gotten right. I was frustrated at myself and felt free to vent that frustration with my spouse. To my surprise, it was not what she wanted to hear once the two of us finally had some time together. I ended the night praying for more balance, more margin in my life. I was excited to sit quietly with God this morning and wrap myself in a warm Bible-blanket before I started the day. What I read was less than comforting.
Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city.
Paul seems to have a legitimate reason to complain. It puts my "hardships" into perspective. Today I wanted a softball from God but he threw me a curve. He tells me not to worry and to understand that it may get tougher. How could anything more difficult than this? How can I do more or accomplish greater things? How can I spend more time with my family and be a better husband? How can I work hard to be a better dad? When all the time I am reading Pauls encouragement to the Christians in Lystra, Iconium and Antioch when he says, "we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God."
The truth is that I dont do it; God does it. My job is to be faithful and allow him to work through me, to change me. My suffering is a natural byproduct of the tension that we all live in. We are ambassadors of Christ to a world that is infected with sin. We use the beauty of God's creation around us to illustraight the wonder of God. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to tell people about him. We have been instructed by the word of God to love and serve and suffer for His name.
My week was tough but I will see tougher. His love is great but it only becomes greater. My responsibilities at work and home and school as a lot of me. But as I continue to give myself to God I know that he will work through me to accomplish the tasks ahead. I am most strong when I allow him to be my strength.