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Why Christians Go Through Hardship

I recently wrote an article for The Christian Post called "Jesus and the Good News About Suffering". Here's an excerpt:

It's about time that we in America were a little more honest — about life and about our spirituality.

Let's face it: life is hard. There are lay-offs and kids with runny noses and sleepless nights and stupid bosses. This should be no surprise to you that times can be tough.

No, that's not to say that every day is an insurmountable challenge to overcome. There is grace and peace and rest. But most days — at least for those who work hard and go to bed tired — consist of a good amount of struggle and toil.

Here's what I'd like to propose: That's okay.

For those of us who profess to follow Jesus, we need to give ourselves permission to admit that there is hardship after you become a Christian.

This is harder than it sounds. In our capitalistic, entrepreneurial society, there is a deeply-ingrained, "bootstrap" ethic that most people — consciously or unconsciously — carry with them. It is the expectation that if there is a challenge that I, and I alone, should be able to overcome it through hard work.

This "go get 'em" attitude isn't entirely a bad thing, but it can lead to disappointment and disillusionment. That's because the system that we've learned is wrong.

It is not uncommon to hear an evangelical (preacher or layperson) share the following formula for Christian conversion:

  1. You have a God-shaped hole in your heart.
  2. Jesus wants to enter your heart and bring purpose to your life.
  3. When you accept Jesus, that hole is filled, and the emptiness in your life disappears.

While there are pieces of truth to this, it is not entirely true. If it were true, there would be no Christian alcoholics or porn-addicts, would there? (And I believe there are.)

Let's be real for a second: life is hard. It's okay to admit this. It doesn't make you a "bad Christian." In fact, it makes you a better one.

Read the rest of the article: Jesus and the Good News About Suffering

What do you think? Is it comforting or discomforting to know that Jesus promises that we'll endure hardship?