We had a full day Sunday. Full of rain, threatening weather (tornado watch), and dark clouds. But we also saw a devoted church family gathering despite this.
We met in the auditorium to keep our setup and takedown people drier. Inside we endured warm temperatures throughout the building—except in the auditorium itself where it was cold enough to hang meat in.
Why share this? I think these inconveniences were worthy of comment. I had someone approach me Sunday morning. Not angry—but clearly ticked off—about a lack of communication within a particular ministry team. I could empathize with him as I've been there. He faithfully carried out this responsibility that day (as usual)—but so did someone else. Double work.
While I felt for him, I couldn’t help but think how little it takes for me to get out of sorts over inconveniences in my daily life. It reminds me of the hashtag “First World Problems” on Twitter.
#FWP is a campaign somebody started to call out people who complain about things in our beloved first world without considering this situation in the larger context. Most of our world lives in third world conditions.
To build on this theme, Martha Fletcher also shared Sunday morning about her recent mission trip—to, of all places, Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in the hemisphere, if not the world. Very little is convenient there. Suffering is the norm.
We got a taste of this through Martha’s beautiful presentation and stories. One person commented to me later that they quit thinking about the uncomfortably cold room after the Haiti talk.
Inconvenience is a very mild form of suffering. God calls us to discomfort when following Christ. Jesus himself calls us to embrace suffering when he says, “If anyone come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
I encourage you to begin praying for God to help you be more content in all your circumstances—comfortable, convenient and otherwise—and to embrace the suffering that comes your way when following Jesus. It’s time we decided whether or not we really believe the Apostle Paul when he writes “all things” here:
“And, in all things, God works for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)