Then this afternoon a pastor from Canada who is staying with us for a few days and I talked for a couple of hours about how viewed ministry and discipleship.
There was a thread thorough all of the conversations.
At some level as believers we have a lingering feeling that if we follow God closely and do all of the right disciplines that life will somehow work out really well. You know we will have a great marriage, we will have kids that all do the right sorts of things, and we will have all of our needs (really wants) met.
It does not seem to work out that way very often. If you read the Bible at an even cursory level you begin to see a pattern that seems to extend to our time today. Conflict, chaos, and suffering. 1 Peter is written to warn and prepare believers about just that.
This life is filled with emotional, physical, and spiritual pain. But there is also a promise. That promise is that this life is not all that there is. As a matter of fact this life, our experiences here, are in, as C. S. Lewis called them, the Shadowlands. We are not home. We are in a world and a system in the control of an enemy who hates us and the horse we rode in on, and does everything he can think of to destroy us. So things are not going to always work out well. Read Jeremiah, Ezekiel, look at what happened to Paul in Acts. Think about Stephen in Acts. We are at war. We are not on a beach. Well if we are it is Normandy and June 6th.
But the promise is that this is not all that there is.