M Scot Peck starts his classic book, “The Road Less Travelled” with the words, “Life is difficult.” He then goes on to say that once we accept this truth, life then becomes less difficult. I reckon he’s right. At least that’s been my experience in life.
When I wake up in the morning expecting everything to go my way and be smooth sailing, I’m setting myself up for disappointment (aren’t I?) Worse, if I head into my day expecting everyone to acknowledge me, admire me, and applaud me, I’m in for some unpleasant surprises!
A case in point: This morning I woke up believing some of these delusions, and not surprisingly, I felt a little stressed out. And then it suddenly dawned on me: I don’t need to impress anyone today, and I don’t need to get anyone to like me today. I just need to be me today (what else could I be?) and that’s enough. It’s such a freeing thought isn’t it?
Anyway, back to the phrase, “Life is difficult.” I reckon we can also say, “Church is difficult” and once we accept that, church becomes less difficult!
Why should we expect church to be easy? Are we not a people under construction who are all still trying to work out our salvation with fear and trembling? (that’s a rhetorical question by the way – the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”) When I read the New Testament, I certainly don’t see any churches that were “easy”, do you? I see churches that had to stick it out together as they tried to grow and mature into the likeness of Christ together. And the past 2,000 years of church history have been no different.
I remember one of my lecturers at Bible College saying to us, “If you find the perfect church, please don’t join it, because if you join it, it will no longer be perfect!” Such wisdom which, after 10 years of Pastoral ministry, I understand more and more.
So, as we move forward, together, let’s remember that not everything is going to go our way, and not everything is going to be smooth sailing. And the only way to handle that is by choosing patience and by choosing humility, and by embracing sacrifice and by embracing servanthood, and by leaving ego and legalism behind. “Lord, have mercy.“
By the way, I thought church was wonderful this morning! It was a beautiful time together in the presence of God where we could just be a big family together (i.e. we could be ourselves) – kids lying on the floor colouring in, people laughing, moments of silence, getting mixed up about collection, etc. It was truly special. Thanks everyone for making church a home for me and my family.