Google ImagesThe other week, after spending a hefty amount of money on shots for my trip to Ghana because insurance doesn't cover international vaccines, I was irritated. The thought crossed my mind, "Why am I spending so much money on a trip that may not even be that fun?" It will be hot. There will be bugs. I hate bugs. It will be rainy. Who knows what kind of food we will be eating. We will take bucket showers...for seven weeks. There won't be much indoor plumbing. Am I crazy? I could probably be much happier if I just stayed in Birmingham.
A few days after I was having those thoughts, my dad shared with me a blog post from Brain Cane, called "I Hate Running, and I Run Marathons...WHY?". In the article, Cane speaks of delayed gratification, of doing something hard not for the sake of doing it, but for the reward that comes after it. The article affected me on several levels. First, it made me want to get into shape! But it also reminded me of the bigger picture.
1 Corinthians 15:9 "If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." What does this mean? I think it means we should be living in a way now that costs us. Christ has been raised. Therefore we have eternal pleasure. So if we miss out on some pleasure here on earth, that's okay. We already have the pearl of great price. We already have everything.
Praise God that Jesus didn't live for temporary pleasure! If He did, there would be no cross. But that doesn't mean there is no joy. There is...the very best kind. It's just in the "not yet" realm.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross...Consider him...so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:2-3).
We wouldn't be given this word if there wasn't a possibility we would grow weary. We wouldn't grow weary if life wasn't hard.
But we don't do hard things just for the sake of doing them. We do them for the joy set before us. Just like Jesus.