That’s me. I’ll admit there have been days – seasons, even – when I’ve faced unpleasant circumstances, and my first reaction was to doubt God, to doubt His love for me, and to question His involvement in my life. Not daily, mind you, but when a few major life crises occurred, I threw pity parties.
Ever been there? Maybe you received a questionable lab report or a loved one died. Maybe you had difficulty having a child or you didn’t climb the corporate ladder fast enough. Maybe someone betrayed you. When things like these happen, we might be tempted to wonder where God is.
Or, maybe the crises in your life are a result of decisions you made to follow God. Maybe you took a cut in pay to answer a call of God and now you have trouble making ends meet. You might be tempted to blame God for not blessing you as you serve Him. Or, maybe you volunteer your time and compassion to those in need, but you constantly feel taken for granted. You might feel isolated and alone….not at all what you thought you would experience when you said “yes” to God.
I’ve been there. I’ve been betrayed. I’ve been taken for granted. I’ve thrown a pity party when life didn’t measure up to my grand plan. Maybe my pity parties felt more valid when they were the result of saying “yes” to God. Like when I said yes to church planting and we moved to a brand new community, without friends, with little money. I was overworked, overwhelmed, lonely, and far from anyone or anything familiar. There were a few moments when I shed tears and wondered why my obedience to God cost so much.
But, then I read the book of Acts and studied the actions of the very first Christians. Let me tell you, they suffered hardships that make my first-world problems look like a trip to Disney. And they didn’t throw pity parties. Instead, they just…partied.
In the days after Jesus was crucified and ascended to Heaven, His followers preached, worshiped, met together, and blessed the people around them….all while the religious elite plotted their arrest, persecution, and death. Each time they mentioned the name of Jesus, the Christians risked their lives. Yet, here is an example of their attitude:
“The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.” Acts 5:41
They partied! The apostles counted it a blessing to suffer for Jesus. How very different from our culture! When we suffer, we automatically assume God is either punishing us or has forgotten us, don’t we?
The apostles made a vastly different assumption: boldness for Jesus will result in persecution, struggles, and discomfort. They accepted it. They expected it. And, they were honored by it.
Are you facing a struggle in your Christian faith today? Are you paying a high price in some way? If so, let me ask you a question. Are you throwing a pity party or are you partying? Count yourself worthy! Not pitied.
Our church is reading through the book of Acts as we continue our current teaching series, Life In Bold. Dive in with us and learn – first hand – how to be BOLD in your faith and, yes, even in your suffering.