Friday, April 25, 2014

We Do Hard Things

"I did not sign up for this." Those are some of my favorite words to tell God when things get just too hard and I am about ready to give up. I am not always quite sure why I feel the need to tell Him that because it is not that God asked if I signed up for it and not that God is going to just take the hard situation away because I told him that, but I often say it anyways.

But the truth is that in some ways I did sign up for a lot of it when I chose to follow Jesus. Because sometimes, following Jesus means doing hard things.

I have been hit in the face the past few weeks that some life is not always easy and it is not always full of rainbows, butterflies, and chocolate croissants. Those really sweet, to-be savored, and sipped in slowly moments are there and are in abundance but so are the hard things.

"For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." -Matthew 7:14 (ESV)

In talking to my dear friend Jen the other day she said something quite simple and at the same time quite profound: "I live with the expectation that everyday should be Easter, and it simply is not. Because before Easter, was the cross."

Easter is awesome. It's the time we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, the beauty of redemption, and the defeat of death. Our God is alive and lives in us. Holy smokes, that is wonderful, freeing, and hope-giving!!! In Easter there is rejoicing and celebration and new life. PRAISE.

And I want to live in the resurrection of Christ. I want to live knowing the power of a God who is greater than death and who is greater than the enemy.

But to live in the resurrection, means to die with Christ. And welp, that ain't easy. There is no resurrection if Jesus did not go to the cross, where He was chastised, spat on, and beat down. There is no resurrection if there are no hard things.

So we do hard things. 

We learn new things that take patience and effort. We have brutally honest conversations. We cry in the arms of our best friends. We take cold showers because that just happens living with a lot of people. We move across the country for a year, only to think we might stay. We miss our besties that live plane rides and hours away. We shovel snow in April. We learn to wash the feet of sinners in a tight-knit community. We have our expectations unmet. We apologize when we mess up. We practice confrontation and vulnerability in relationships. We face the unknowns of the future. We close doors and open others. We build things from the ground up. We graduate and do the things (shout out to baby ayers for doing things).

But all the while we hope in the resurrecting power of Christ and in the redemptive power of His love. We trust that Jesus is not finished with us. He is bringing beauty out of ashes.

And on that day we meet Jesus in Heaven, we'll get to thank Him for writing us such a beautiful story of redemption that taught us to trust Him and to hope in more than just the day's circumstances.

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