Judging by the picture and the title for this post, you’d probably be wondering where I’m going with this..
Because, considering the bad rap Christianity has had throughout the years, one would think, why even be a Christian when you can live your life without having to worry about being persecuted while having to follow some “binding” moral code that holds you to such an unbelievably high standard?
But the fact of the matter is that there just seem to be so many sacrifices and trials Christians have to face every single day.
To which I’d reply, oh yeah, no doubt.
But is being a Christian really worth all this trouble?
The answer, in simplest terms?
Just ask my homies in Heaven.
But this notion of discomfort and and inconvenience with being a Christian is certainly not breaking news for the practicing Christian.
Earlier today, I read a quote from C.S. Lewis who said, “If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
Which is seriously true.
But as Pope Benedict XVI reminds us, that although this world offers us comfort, we were not made for comfort - we were made for greatness. And as the words of St. Catherine of Siena explain further, “Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.”
It’s a shame that the world we live in today has somehow convinced us that suffering is not exactly good, in the sense that it contains no worth or value - therefore it must be avoided at all costs
(unintentional pun intended).
Which is exactly why we are currently living in a culture that demands convenience, and demands comfort.
Convenience and comfort, even to these ridiculous extents:
But to think that this is exactly the kind of mentality we are immersed in at this present age says a lot about how easy it is for any of us to miss the point of Christianity - especially when being blasted on your Tumblr ask box for being a Catholic, pro-life teen simply standing up for what you believe in becomes an everyday thing for you.
Which is hilarious to me, because the fear of being rejected and persecuted for my faith has always been an irrational fear I’ve kept to myself growing up.
In fact, I remember going to church when I was 6 after having heard about 9/11, anxiously asking my mom at the back of the pews whether or not terrorist bombers would be able to attack us - seeing as we were a church on top of a hill, almost as if we were easily exposed for the whole world to see.
But in many ways, I’ve since come to realize that maybe what were once my childish and innocent ways of thinking have led me to understand a truth about my faith that’s not necessarily heartwarming - that I’ll constantly be under attack by the Enemy through the world he has come to corrupt.
And I’m sure Jesus’ apostles also had their doubts following this so called Messiah, because He certainly did not promise them any comfort, what with this whole “denying of self,” “picking up your cross” and “selling everything that you have” sort of business (Luke 9:23; Luke 18:22).
And maybe He was right in John 16:33 when He said (you know, more or less):
And it’s true. As Christians, we’ll be persecuted. We’ll be denied this so called “comfort and convenience” that our world has come to glorify. We’ll be laughed at, scorned, mocked, ridiculed, and hated. We’ll endure trials in our journey to follow Him. And surely, we’ll fall. Jesus Himself fell three times on His way to Calvary.
And yet, our Lord tells us to rejoice in this suffering - for even He had to endure much to fulfill His Father’s will - even to death on a cross. But it’s important to remember that the story of our redemption doesn’t end there at the cross. Not even at the tomb. Quite the contrary.
For that story continues to live on in the hearts of those who have come to realize that our God is greater than any other in this universe, that love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8), and that we are not living for this life alone - we are living for the next one to come.
So maybe suffering actually isn’t that bad at all. Look at the saints and the martyrs who had to suffer greatly and die all out of love for Him.
Truly, they understood the value of suffering because they knew where they longed to be.
And eternal life in Heaven has got to be that sweet.