Jesus never promised his disciples that following Him would be easy. He never promised that loving God and putting away the things of this world would be a walk in the park. In fact, He promises quite the opposite. He promises persecution. He promises hardship. And He goes as far as to say that if you are persecuted for His name's sake, you are blessed.
I was talking with my older sister the other day and we were having a difficult discussion about the death of a baby. The baby was only 2 months old when God took her unexpectedly and my sister was confused and angry and heartbroken over this news. She asked why...I said I didn't know because truthfully I don't know why it seems like the children of this world have to suffer more than any other. Children who are abused, children with cancer, children who die unexpectedly of seemingly nothing, as this baby did. And the children are the least deserving of these afflictions, they're innocent, they don't deserve to suffer that way.
When I spoke to my sister about her own beliefs she assured me that she believes in God, that she has a relationship with Jesus...but that it's volatile and hard.
Those 2 words struck me.
Volatile and hard.
And because her relationship with God is volatile and hard, she probably has the most real relationship with Him of anyone I know. It's not supposed to be sunshine and rainbows. It's not supposed to be easy and carefree. What happens to us when we spend our time doing only the easy things? We get lazy. We get complacent. We take the easy things for granted.
When we have something worth having that we have to work at, really work at, grind and toil for, we respect that thing. We appreciate that thing more than if it had simply been handed to us in all it's fullness. A relationship with God should be something we work at, something we sweat and bleed for. It shouldn't be something we get dressed up for on Sundays and sing a couple of hymns for, then go about our day as if we've done nothing at all.
It should be volatile and hard!
And yes, Jesus also said, Come, all who are burdened and heavy laden, I will give you rest. Because there are those times when our faith is sweet and precious and sunshine and rainbows. Those times when things are good and it's easy to believe. But those times are few and far between because life in this sin sick world is hard and it will continue to be hard until we die.
Once again my big sister is teaching me something about myself and my God and she probably didn't even realize it. She is amazing and one of the strongest women I've ever had the privilege of knowing.
So if your relationship with God is easy, you have no conflict about it, no persecution, no tears...then you're doing something wrong and you're missing out on something richer, deeper, and more meaningful than what you have. Dig deeper!