Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

8Feb/100

Big Trials vs. Small Trials:

A flat tire on the way to your big presentation, a new boss that is impossible to please, a big zit on the night of Prom.

Life is filled with trials… BIG & small.

But the way we define the size of the trial often depends upon our age, experience, and maturity.

A zit on prom night looks a lot different to a mother than it does to the high school girl who is getting ready for “the big night”. A new boss that cannot be pleased can be harder to work with to the person whose life is wrapped up in his work than to a person who is daily in prayer for Christians dying for their faith in Asia.

I must be sensitive to the specific circumstances of the trials of others…I do not know all the details of the situation. I, myself, have been consumed and distraught over issues that really were minor. Things that might have been minor to others have been great trials to me. But I am CONVINCED that it is of utmost importance that trials be seen in their proper perspective.

It disgusts me that I consistently see typical American Christians emotionally distraught over life circumstances that seem embarrassingly small to me. They are not small to God, mind you, who has the capacity and desire to care for every hair on our heads…but they are small from the perspective of a Christian who tries to be aware of and supportive of the activity of God and the church in the world. They should not consume our attention and emotional energy.

I won’t try to create some arbitrary rating system for the size of specific trials here, rather I would like to share a few key principles that I believe help us to maintain a proper perspective on our own trials:

  • Christians are called to lives of sacrifice. To give their money, their time, their wants, and even their very lives to the work of God on the earth. If we are seeking great things for ourselves, or additional comfort for our already comfortable, well-fed, air-conditioned, rich, home-owning, SUV-driving lives, let us remember those who have none of those things. Let us seek to share our blessings with others, and empathize with those who truly suffer. Let us pray for those who will die today for the sake of the gospel. Let us hold the perspective that we are rich Americans, and that normal people have far less than the vast majority of us.
  • Christians are called to lives of service. As Christians, our mandate is to love others through physical acts. Serving others on a weekly basis has an amazing effect on our perspective of our own lives. Don’t just give, don’t just pray, go. Serve others at a food pantry, at a church office, or in a ministry of the church. When you are physically touching people who are suffering physically, emotionally, and financially, you’re worries will fade into the background of your life.
  • Christians are called to the lifestyle of soldiers. The exhortation of Jesus and others in the New Testament is the call of a life of focus. Not to marry if you are not called to do so. Not to raise a family unless you are called to do so. Not to get tied down with the everyday worries of life. Owning a home, raising a family, having a car payment…these things might one day prevent you from being able to follow Jesus’ call. Be content to live simply, and be earnest in seeking God’s will when it comes to things requiring long-term commitments and financial obligations.

There is so much more to this…what would you choose to add to this blurb?

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