When I was a young girl, I loved riding my bicycle. I can still hear my Grandma Alta commenting on how she loved watching me ride it because she could see how much I loved riding with the wind streaming through my hair. We didn’t wear helmets when we rode our bikes then.
A couple of years ago, John bought a bicycle for my Mother’s Day gift. I rediscovered how much I enjoyed riding a bike as a little girl; but then winter came and I put the bike away. All last year I didn’t bring it out again, until about the middle of August of this year.
As I have been riding it, I’ve realized how out of shape I really am. Even the smallest hills were hard to ride up and my muscles screamed in protest at the work I was putting them through.
Eventually I’m finding the little hills are much easier to ride up and on the down slope, I am reminded how much I loved riding the bike as a girl. I still don’t wear a helmet.
It’s a funny thing, but the hills have actually helped strengthen me. As I have had to tackle these little hills every time I ride my bike, my body does it a little more easily than the time before. My limbs get stronger and so does my heart and lungs.
If I resign myself to a life of sitting in front of the computer or watching television, I grow weaker. So am I right in believing that ease and comfort makes us weak, struggling and working makes us strong?
The Bible talks much about suffering and struggling. There’s nothing easy about living a life based on the Bible as Supreme Authority of our lives. Ask David when he stood before Goliath who promised to feed David to the birds, ask Elijah when he ran away from Jezebel, ask the three friends of Daniel who were about to be thrown in the fire because they wouldn’t bow to Nebuchadnezzar, ask Jesus as his hands and feet were nailed onto the cross and he was lifted up.
No, there’s nothing easy about living the Christian life if one truly lives for Jesus. But there’s a benefit to living a life based on the Bible that living a life of comfort doesn’t give. When a person obeys God’s Word that person might have to suffer, but that person will become stronger for it.
Paul talked about this in 2 Corinthians 12:7-11. He said that he asked the Lord to make his life easier by taking away his “thorn in the flesh”. We don’t know what that was, but we do know the Lord answered that the thorn was to stay. By being weak Paul was told that God’s strength would show what He would do with a weak man.
Later Paul was to suffer through other hardships such as stoning, shipwrecks and jail time in a dark, damp disease infested cell.
Knowing some of the things that happened to the heroes of the faith, both in the Bible and throughout history (and some died horrible deaths, as recorded in Fox’s Book of Martyrs) and knowing that the Bible teaches that we’re blessed when we’re persecuted for His sake, should we ask for a comfortable and easy life? Could it be that a life of ease is really a curse and a life of hardship is a blessed life? It's what Jesus taught and exemplified.