The Rev. Rob Courtney
Fr. Rob is the Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church & School
Last week I introduced you to the five hard truths. The first of those hard truths is that life is hard. This one has to be one of the easiest truths to recognize and relate to.
Most of the people at St. Paul's live pretty comfortable, upper-middle class lives. While such lives may not seem difficult we know that's an illusion. Wealth and comfort simply make it easier to hide the stresses many people face. Maybe some of these examples make life hard for you:
Life. Is. Hard. BUT . . .
BUT. There's good news! Each of the negative messages of the hard truths have a corresponding positive message. Life is hard, but . . . grace abounds. Yes, life is hard, but it's in the difficulties of life that true transformation takes place. Success is certainly wonderful, and I wish for success for myself and you, too! But for me, the most growth I've experienced in my life has come on the other side of difficulty. That is the story we are entering into here in the Lenten season, namely the story of the cross and the empty tomb, death and resurrection. As Jesus teaches us in the gospel of John,
"I assure you that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it can only be a single seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit."--John 12:24 (CEB)
Life is hard. And this is why it's important to be spiritually grounded. Sometimes, we think that if we go to church more, or pray more, or read the Bible more that our problems will disappear. As a priest of 14 years, a lifelong Christian, and a person who engages in regular spiritual practice, I can tell you that being a Christian has NOT made my problems go away. I still face hard things every single day. But. What I can share with you are more of the words of Jesus,
"Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke and learn from me. I'm gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves." --Matthew 11:28 (CEB)
Being a follower of Jesus does not eliminate the problems of life. What following Jesus does do is offer spiritual support in carrying life's load. It provides me a strength beyond my abilities. A peace that passes understanding in life's hardest moments. It also places me in the midst of a community of people who are there for me when I need them.
Life is hard. That's my experience. It's also my experience, though, that God's grace abounds.
Are you facing difficulty right now? Reach out and let us help support you.
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