Read Matthew 7:13-14
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
“That was easy!” I cringe every time I hear those words coming through the television set. At first the advertisements were somewhat amusing. Someone presses a big red button, some task gets miraculously done and out come the words, “That was easy!” Of course, the advertisements were for Staples who were claiming how their services make one’s life so much easier.
Then, following the advertisements came the actual buttons that came out in the store. The second my children saw the buttons displayed with the words ” TRY ME!!!” splashed across the box, my hope for a nice, peaceful home were ruined. Before I knew it, the easy button had complicated my world with the incessant noise pollution being emitted from it. “That was easy! That was easy! That was easy! That was easy! Hahaha daddy, this is funny…That was easy!”
It’s rather ironic, as I sit and think about it, how difficult that blasted “easy button” made my life, especially as a full time seminary student trying to study. It is also ironic that through the difficulty of studying produced by the “Easy Button” I grew into a student who could study despite distractions. As a result of the “easy button”, and other noise makers, I learned to tune out noise and get my work done. Regardless, suffice it to say that the “easy button” did not make my life easy as it had been advertised.
Often times we, as human beings, look for the miraculous, red, and shiny easy button to solve our problems. If only life were easy, if only there weren’t challenges, if only we didn’t have to work so darn hard for everything! We imagine a world in which there are no challenges, no sweat, no blood spilled, and no turmoil. We imagine a paradise without pain, without bumps in the road, without disagreements and without fighting. We imagine a world where everyone got along, a world in which everyone held hands and skipped merrily down the yellow brick road together.
Yet, would that kind of reality really make life easy? Would a world without challenges, would a world without trials and tribulations, would a world without setbacks and pitfalls really be an “easier” world? Would such a world lead us to be better human beings? Would such a world lead us to an appreciation for what it means to work hard for something? Would there be any kind of growth in a world where everything was easy? What reward would there be in such a world?
The fact of the matter is that without the difficulties and challenges, I would not be who I am today. I would not know what it means to lose a hundred pounds, to go through college while working and raising two children. I would not know what it means to have a meaningful relationship with my daughters, with my wife, with my friends, with my family, or with God. Rather than getting caught up in the flashy world of instant gratification, let us take the time to pause and thank God for the blessing our challenges have been to us. While God does not wish, nor cause, bad things to happen to us, God has certainly worked good in, through and in spite of those things in order to shape us into who we are today. Take a deep breath and thank God that it wasn’t THAT easy!
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Welcome to wherever you are, this is your life, you’ve made it this far!” – Bon Jovi
Lord, help me to see that all things are possible in you. Remind me that it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains. Amen.