I was standing in the lobby of a hotel a few months ago, when this young man, maybe twenty-five years old, started talking to me. I don’t know why he picked on me, maybe I looked like a pastor or something–I hope not.
Anyway, Joe (not his real name) unloaded about all the problems in his life. I just listened. He told me about his drug and alcohol issues, his recent breakup with a girl, the problems with his job, and how hard life was for him. I just listened. A couple of times I said, “Wow man, that’s tough.”
I guess my listening ear punctuated with an empathetic statement repeated twice, was enough for him to think I was an inexpensive counsellor, so he continued.
Life is Hard
After ten minutes of his cynical depressive monologue, I commented, “Joe, life is hard. Life is malevolent. Choose your hard.” He said, “What?” and then it was my time to talk.
It’s hard to lose a job. It’s hard to be betrayed. It’s hard to be broke. It’s hard to have no direction for your life. It’s hard to be out of shape. It’s hard when you have a hangover. It’s hard to have no self-respect. It’s hard to not believe in yourself.
It’s hard to get up early. It’s hard to go to work. It’s hard to open your Bible and pray each morning. It’s hard to work out. It’s hard to be a good student, a good spouse, a good parent. It’s hard to save money. It’s hard to help others. It’s all hard!
Jesus said to those who would follow Him, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25) Jesus promises that if we choose the Jesus way, the rugged way of the kingdom, we will save our lives! Life is already going to be hard, why not choose the hard that sets us free.
Life doesn’t happen to us; life happens for us. Life is not for punishing us, but for preparing us. Life is about finding meaning and it can be hard to find. Choose your hard and discover your life.