I was thinking about the struggles that we go through as we trust the Lord to guide our path and how that plays out in the here and now and in tangible everyday events that happen in our lives.
At this point I’ve got to speak about myself so as not to group everybody into thinking the same way I think about life. I have found that I have an expectation that life meets for me, to be content and if you will, happy. For example, no repairs needed on anything I own. Pleasant working conditions and adequate, and even more than adequate income. No health issues for me or those I love. I get along great with the neighbors, and there is harmony in every aspect of my life. My realistic dreams and desires of the future are attainable and I feel secure, comfortable and content with life as I am experiencing it.
I have the financial means to pursue my hobbies or recreational interests. In other words, I guess in my way of thinking, this is the American dream. Everyday is a sail free day, light gentle breezes and smooth waters and tropical temperatures with dolphins and sailfish accompanying my blue sky Island adventure that I call “life.” No phone calls that disturb the waters. No interactions with others that disturb the peace and tranquility of my mental state. No emails from my boss informing me that I must take a mandatory so-called “vaccination” or else lose my employment. No concerns of what I’m going to do now that my house has been washed away by flood waters or destroyed by wildfires, or by a tornado or an earthquake. No news that a loved one has been kidnapped or one of my children has been killed in a car wreck.
What I have mentioned are the extremes that do happen every day to real people that shatter their expectations of life. I also have to add that the American dream is not shared, as we know, and is totally unrealistic for millions and probably billions in real life that experience life as a daily struggle just to survive and/or live under the thumb of cruel and authoritarian dictators. I think of Haiti, North Korea... I could go on and on.
One way I try to protect my imaginary perfect life and avoid conflict is to not mention my faith to anyone. Not mentioning my faith to anyone has a two-fold advantage in avoiding disruption in my perfect life. One is the obvious hatred toward those that express a livable faith. Two, it avoids the inconvenience of interrupting my time and my personal pursuits and conveniences. To share my faith means to share my time and that could interfere with my screen time or my course time or my jogging or any number of my personal pursuits of self-serving, self gratifying, self-interest.
I have come to realize that if I don’t view what I call the “blessings of living in America” as opportunities to live my life as blessings to others, then these blessings can become entrapments of materialism, that I become entangled in, and a slave to. At that point, my faith becomes a self serving tool, to provide for me a comfort to satisfy my conscience, that shields me from any feelings of guilt that I am not following the teachings of the Author of my faith. In other words a faith that does not result in works.
So with all that said, I’m going to get out on a limb. I’m going to say that when troubled waters come, and tragedy strikes, and my neighbors and coworkers reject me and hate me for my biblical viewpoint, and my financial stability has become unstable, and my comfort turns to discomfort, anxiety and sometimes even anger and distrust, there is a purpose for it.
That purpose is for me to show that my faith is real. How do I show my faith is real? Am I being led by the Holy Spirit? Are others seeing a sense of peace and not panic in my life? Are others seeing me rely on God and my faith to sustain me and look beyond myself to others that I can be a help to? Can a hint of joy be detected in my life? Can someone be seen coming to me for answers to the questions they have concerning what they see in me?
I think smooth sailing is over in America and the world. I think it is time for me to show that my faith is real and get out from under the bushel that I have conveniently been hiding under.
-Russell Call, Bixby, OK