Being a Christian is Hard. Period.

Today’s Scripture  James 1:2-8 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That person should not expect to receive anything from the LORD. 8Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Food For Thought  Put others first.  Serve.  Give.  Be patient (even in affliction.)  Show kindness.  Love everyone.  Preach the gospel to all the world.  Study.  Pray, without ceasing.  Balance love and good works and faith.  Take care of your family.  Entertain strangers.  Resist temptation.  Embrace spiritual lessons.  Enjoy life, but not “too much.”  Store treasures in heaven.  Do not conform to this world.  Stand up for what is right even while the rest of the world mocks your beliefs. As Christians, we are asked to do A LOT.  We are asked to do a lot while also living a life that is pretty much guaranteed to come with trials and struggles.  Being a Christian, some days, is hard.  Period.

I know, I know.  Being a Christian is supposed to be the most jubilant, uplifting, and triumphant feeling in the world.  Right?  Well it is.  Until it isn’t.  As I continue to struggle with what I have termed my “mid-life crisis,” I find myself searching for the bigger meaning of my life and wondering why does life have to be so stinkin’ hard all the time.  Especially for those of us who are faithful and spiritual.  So, I turn to scripture, like this passage in the book of James.

When I read this passage in James, I struggle with the very first words.  I’m supposed to find JOY in my trials?  Excuse me, God, for a minute, but in your all-knowing wisdom, you do understand the meaning of trials, right?  Trials are bothersome, irritating, annoying, and worrisome.  It’s hard to be joyful when I’m worried or annoyed.  But this is what I’ve been called to do, as one of the “sisters” in verse two.

In verse 3, it mentions testing and perseverance.  Those are key words to the big picture.  As unpleasant as trials and struggles are (nobody wants these to happen in their lives), they serve a bigger purpose.  They are spiritual events presented to me as lessons and opportunities to grow my faith.  I am given a chance to mature with wisdom given from God, if I ask and believe.  Verse six directs my life as a Christian, even when, or especially when difficulties arise: ask, believe, do not doubt.

Facing life’s trials is HARD.  There’s no promise that living a Christian life is an easy life.  But do you want to know what is considerably harder?  Attempting to face life’s difficulties on my own.  Living a Christian life may be hard at times, but living a Christian life is also what makes it EASY.  It’s this little thing called “hope.”  I have prayer on my side.  I have faith that when asking God, I will receive an answer.  I have the knowledge that whatever trial I am experiencing, it is temporary.  I believe when I get stuck and need wisdom, I can ask God and He will provide.  I trust that, as stated in verse 4, my life is complete, not lacking in anything.  And every time I feel life getting hard again, I will go back and read these words, finding comfort in the promises.

Today’s Recipe  Speaking of things that are hard or difficult, well, sometimes my kitchen experiences can be rather difficult.  I had a great cookie recipe to share with you today.  But my cookies are UGLY.  They taste fine, but they spread out very thin and cracked and I have no idea why.  Maybe I should have chilled the dough.  Maybe the oven temperature needed adjusted.  Maybe my air bake cookie sheets are wearing out, I’ve had them for a lot of years.  Maybe I rushed the recipe and had a miscue.  So, here are my ugly pictures from what I like to call #reallife.  So, no recipe today, but I hope you found some words of encouragement during Food For Thought.

Well, that’s life.  Maybe I’ll have a cookie recipe for you in the future, once I figure out what the problem was with these.