I was feeling sorry for myself the other day. It was the usual round of over worked, over worried, and over stretched. Of course I was the creator of all the stuff that I was experiencing, but in my selfish heart I just wanted God to make things easier, less difficult, and more relaxed. In other words, I was going through a self-pity party and needed God to do what I desired. Instead of fixing my heart on Him, I just wanted God to fix everything for me.
It only lasted a little while (along with a little whine), and then I began to hear about other people with real problems, serious issues, and tragic circumstances. There’s nothing quicker that jolts me out of being self-absorbed than a dose of someone else’s reality. It makes me soon realize that things could be a lot worse and that the stress I experience is no real hardship at all.
I wonder if we Western Christians will ever really understand what faith suffering is all about? Faith sharing is our big thing over here – we share our beliefs, ideas, and opinions quite a lot, but when it comes to faith suffering, that’s a different story.
As I am writing this, Christians in China are languishing in prison. Christ followers are watching their homes burn in India. Fellow believers are being harassed in Iraq and hunted down in Iran. Christians in Nigeria are being ambushed, mugged, raped, and slaughtered. Sudanese and Ethiopian Christians are watching their children die from starvation, malnutrition, malaria, or even measles. Meanwhile, I’m feeling sorry for myself and want the Lord to answer my prayers and respect my feelings.
HHhmmm, there’s obviously something wrong…
Prayer: O Lord, forgive me. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor at Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.