What has been the most difficult thing for you about being a Christian?
Sometimes there are things about being a Christian that are just strange. It might be that you would think that once you have a relationship with God, everything else will fall into place. Everything would become easy, just well, because. Everyone will like you and suddenly fluffy unicorns will appear alongside the flying pigs.
It’s not exactly reality is it? Somehow life is just as difficult and other people don’t change but still say the things that hurt, and Monday morning still comes around when you haven’t done your homework. Life is just as hard, if not sometimes more so when you start to follow Jesus. But you do still have the gift of a relationship with the God who flung stars into space, and his Holy Spirit living inside of you, which does help significantly, even if it doesn’t mean flying unicorns will appear.
There are many Christians throughout time who have been persecuted for their faith and suffered greatly as a result. Many have refused to deny the fact that they believe in Jesus, even though it has come at a great cost to them and their families. All would say that it is a great privilege to share in the sufferings Jesus went through on the cross and in the hours before.
It’s best to keep a heavenly perspective throughout all challenges and struggles. Even when life is at it’s hardest we know that this is not how God designed the world to be, and we can know that he has a plan for us – to make all things new and to banish all that is not good – as Tom Wright (a theologian and former Bishop) says in a rough paraphrase – Heaven is a place where there will be no barbed wire, or people who would put it there to use against other people.
Lord God, thank you that you have a plan. Be with us in our struggles, however big or small they might be. Help us know you more. Amen.
Google “The Heavenly Man” and read the story of someone who was prepared to go to great lengths for his faith even to the point of suffering. Pray for the persecuted church.