Trial by trial

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by Stan Mitchell

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult, and left untried.” (G.K. Chesterton).

Some give up on Christianity because they find it hard to surrender the ways and habits of the old life. Others give up because they feel Christianity has failed to deliver.

Sometimes this is the fault of preachers, who seem to peddle a life that rivals Peter Pan for its fantasy value. “Come to Christ,” they imply, “and there will be no more sorrow, no more pain.”

The Lord never promised a trouble free life for his followers. He did, however, promise his presence and help. The Christian life does not offer immunity to heartbreak, illness and tragedy; it offers the compensation of heaven.

In stark contrast, Jesus says:

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24, ESV).

And the Apostle Paul declares:

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8).

One of the reasons that Christianity has been “found difficult” is because it is difficult.

The Christian who behaves as if he “has it altogether” is either faking or deluding himself. Let’s be clear about one thing; we are Christians, not because we are “good at it” but because by it we receive Christ’s mercy and strength.

The Christian life is indeed difficult; life is difficult. The difference is that while Christianity is found difficult, it also provides the one source of strength to make it through.

Do you have this source of strength? He once walked the shores of Galilee.

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