Joseph Brazil | @blackdog575
You’d probably agree being a believer in Christ comes with its share of difficulties. Although we are in the world and meant to be separate from its influence, our human nature constantly reminds us of the lifestyles we mean to steer away from. What happens, then, when the weight of God’s calling grows too heavy to bear? What’s your first reaction when you look around and see the world passing you by as you toil away at what you know God has imparted upon you?
It can be taxing at times. Even life-threatening. Just ask Paul and his sidekick Silas.
In Acts 16, we find these two in some big trouble. During a stop in Philippi, Paul and Silas came across a female slave with the ability to foretell the future. Paul finally had enough of the practice and drove out the spirit inside the woman. Consequently, this made her owner angry as the well of income from the slave’s soothsaying had just run dry. Paul and Silas are arrested and severely whipped and thrown into jail.
These two have every human reason to be upset with God. They’re two men called to minister to an unforgiving people and who find themselves near death and in the inner cell of a Roman prison. But look at their response:
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25)
After enduring a near death beating and being locked away in a prison cell, they transcended their misfortune and celebrated their persecution through praying and singing hymns to the Lord. As a result, their fellow inmates were directly influenced by their devotion.
There are times we feel frustrated, ineffective, selfish, stressed, confused, alone, and covetous of others while we try to carry out God’s work. Sometimes we wonder if this is what we want to do with our life. Or why is life so easy for a friend who doesn’t seem to be bothered by its hills and valleys. The truth is we don’t know what those around us are going through, and, frankly, we’d be amazed to find what inner conflicts they’re living through. As believers, we must do as Paul and Silas and rise above worldly temptation and spiritual groaning and find contentment in our calling.
In Luke 22:42, Jesus reflected on the magnitude of what going to the cross entailed, but he instantly remembered his purpose and changed his attitude: “‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me. Yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Giving up and giving in is easy. When we crash and burn to ourselves and submit to God’s calling we’re not promised an easy road. James, the brother of Jesus, relates how we should be joyful when we come unto trials and hardship because of our duty to follow Christ. He explains how the testing of our faith through patience and long suffering only goes to strengthen our faith and ultimately draws us nearer to the Lord.
When the weight of the world gets too much to bear, remember for who it is you’re struggling. What greater blessing can found than knowing we’re carrying out God’s meaning for lives.
Joseph Brazil is a teacher from eastern New Mexico. He enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, watching sports, and studying blues guitar. He is a student of history, and likes sharing with his wife in a good period-piece flick. You can find him on Twitter at @blackdog575.