There is excitement and anxiety in building something new for God. The human psyche has a torrid, hot/cold love affair with the new and the unprecedented, and the mixture of anticipation and trepidation is enough to keep us up at night. We dream of the day when we will regale a new generation of young trailblazers with stories of the sleepless nights and unsure days that led to our ultimate, unmitigated success. We are plagued by the thoughts of being another in a long list of those who have tried and failed, and cringe at the possibility of suffering as a result of our efforts.
In dealing with these conflicting emotions, we often tell ourselves (and others) to put thoughts of suffering and failure as far from our minds as possible, and reassure ourselves that we are too blessed to be stressed, too secure to fail. Our focus is on doing away with those thoughts, and fostering more of the big, beautiful dreams. We are told that everything will be amazing, and that "God has great things in store for us." This, we are told, means we are going to be wild successes, never touched by the unfortunate or unpleasant.
In reading through Philippians, I have to wonder; is this the best way to deal with the range of emotions that come with new endeavors? Paul doesn't shy away from the possibility of danger and suffering. In fact, he considers suffering to be a certainty, and more than that, a gift. For those believers paving the way in Phillippi, he offers more than the typical "everything will turn out great" response to their plight. He confronts the weight of anxiety and persecution, and tells us it is a blessing, because we share in the suffering of Christ. Not just this, but as he is writing this you can almost hear the unbridled, almost manaical joy in his tone.
He has realized that even the weight is a gift, and even the burden is a blessing to the child of God. He serves a God who takes all things, not just good things, and works them together for our good. This is the way to have an unquenchable desire for God; to desire not just the good, but even the painful, if it brings God glory. This is "foolishness" to those who don't know God in this way, but if you really get down to it... this complete trust and contentment is the only method we are given to live the Christian life.
And yet, I'll be completely honest with you. I kind of don't want to learn this lesson, because there are a whole lot of ways I could get hurt right now. I wish there was an easier way. I suppose it is time to get to know God a bit more, because there is something inherently trustworthy in Him that will make this all make sense. Or, alternatively, make me completely crazy.
Oh well, either way.
(Check out my new blog for Church Plant Worship Leaders, at www.churchplantworshipleader.com)
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