“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ…because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.
2 Corinthians 1:5,7
What would you give in exchange for your soul? For Christians, there can really be only one answer—their life. That is often understood as being executed or murdered for your faith. That’s not an easy thing to do, but harder still is the decision to live every day in service to Jesus.
Though it is often taught, preached, and believed by some that prosperity is the Christian’s due and anything less signifies a lack of faith, this is nowhere found in the scriptures. That is not to say you cannot prosper or be wealthy and be a Christian. It simply means that this is not guaranteed and earthly suffering or lack is not God’s retaliation for a life ill-spent.
Jesus invited all who labored at living and found that load heavy, to come to him, and he would provide rest. When that rest would come is open-ended. This was not some slick marketing ploy. It was an opportunity to look at the life he lived and the manner in which he lived it and do the same, no matter how imperfectly you performed.
Now, the scriptures describe Jesus as both a man of sorrows acquainted with grief and a man anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. When faced with the excruciating pain of crucifixion, he endured it by seeing the joy that lay beyond.
This is not blind faith. It is seeing the hardships of serving God and choosing to endure them anyway because you believe the reward—everlasting life lived in the Spirit and in the fellowship of God is worth the difficulties.
In most cases, coming to God is not the end of our problems, but the beginning of a struggle that will push you out of your comfort zone at every single turn, while at the same time, giving you the chance to use your natural talents to their fullest.
That alone is worth the price of admission. Tests are not a punishment, as school children believe, they are a challenge that bears a reward. There’s no one I enjoy competing against more than myself. Life continues to be a challenge. I admit that there are times I fuss and fume and am frustrated with myself beyond measure at not meeting the challenge in a triumphant march. Sometimes I crawl into the next challenge.
“In your patience possess ye your souls.”