Awhile back our Pastor preached from 1 Peter 4:19, "Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator." A common line through his message was "Do the right thing."
He went on to talk about how the right thing usually is the hard thing. It's true something else might seem easier, but just because the degree of difficulty is less doesn't determine it is correct.
It's a concept that is even making its way into the mind of my 4 year old. The other day I had told her to finish one of her jobs and all that was on her mind was getting outside to ride her bike. As she headed to the door, I asked her what she was supposed to do. I was expecting her to say put her clothes away, but she stopped looked at me and said, "I remember what Pastor Tim said, "I need to do the hard stuff first."
Well, not his exact words, but it's a start!! Now I need to follow her lead.
It is very true in our life today - it can be tempting to do the easy thing, the fun thing - but if I play with the kids all day and just read blogs we would never eat and our house would be a constant state of disaster. Our faith life is the same.
When we decided to follow Christ, He doesn't simply want us to go on living as we had been. We are a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17) and need to live that way. At times this may be easy - we go to church with others who feel the same. We can worship together, pray and discuss the scriptures. In that safe little place, the right thing is easy! (Well not always with 3 little ones in the pew!!)
But what about outside the walls and away from the ones who have a similar desire to praise the Lord and follow Christ? The life of a Christian isn't always so easy, so we must decide to do the right thing. What that is will be unique for each and everyone of us, but the fact that we each have a decision to make is universal. God will give us opportunities to choose between what is right and what is easy - what will you decide?
In the last month, I've wrestled with a decision myself. The opening verse I posted talks about suffering according to God's will and though I'm feeling no physical pain with this dilemma, in my head it has hurt.
Over a year ago I first heard about She Speaks, a conference put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries. It sounded wonderful and every comment I read about it was encouraging and full of examples of God's hand at work in NC. As I was in the process of writing a book, the thought of me attending entered my mind, but it only lasted a short while as doubt entered and I was convinced the conference was great for everyone, but me.
Time went on and the thought was always there, so I prayed about it, honestly thinking it would eventually go away. Then in the fall we found out we were expecting and one of the first things I thought was, "The door has closed - I can't go away for 3 days with a new baby." And honestly that was OK.
Well, fifteen days later we had a miscarriage and the door was re-opened. As I wrestled with the emotions a loss creates, it didn't seem to matter though.
As the new year began, the idea in a way I wanted to fade away had not - She Speaks was still on my heart. I continued to pray and by the time registration opened, God continued to move. He had confirmed and with much needed support and encouragement from my husband and registered.
Well, 4 days later, I found out I was expecting and again thought about the conference. In my mind I didn't think it would work - flying by myself states away while nearly 28 weeks pregnant. Worry and fear told me none of this made sense, and at times I was OK with that.
I knew I had until June 30th to make a decision and though I kept waiting for the door to close, it never did. I can remember sitting in church the Sunday our Pastor gave this message and realizing I was torn between doing the right thing and the easy thing.
It would be much easier to stay home, attend my high school class reunion, visit my grandma on her birthday and send my husband off on his Canadian fishing trip. But he's cancelled his annual outing with the guys to stay home with the kids and though he's nervous about sending me off by myself, he wants me to do what God wants me do.
Really it would be easier to be who I've always been, stay where I've always stayed and do what I've always done, but like my little Joy-Joy said, "I need to do the hard stuff first." Though I take this step with plenty of worry, fear and doubt I know in God's eyes it is right, so I will do so and like Peter said, "entrust my soul to a faithful Creator."
Won't you do the same?!?