The Preacher’s Post: Generous People Know Life Is Difficult

Scott M. Peck wrote: “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

There is a convergence of spiritual truth which is not necessarily difficult to understand intellectually, but is most challenging to live on a daily basis. I’m learning I get these issues settled in my life, then the sun goes down, and by the time it comes again I’m operating in some default setting that starts with the premise that I deserve an easier and more pain-free life, spared the hardships I see in the lives around me. Where in the world does that thinking come from, because it clearly runs counter to all the obvious evidence? It’s not helpful for me to pontificate on that question right now, for the task before me is to surrender to the life God has given me, and the truth expressed not in the first few familiar lines of the Serenity Prayer, but the last half of the Serenity Prayer:

Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He (Jesus) did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. 

I know that…but I have to learn it anew every day if I’m to live the kind of generous life that responds with gratitude for the gift of life God has given me. Hardships have been the teachers of the great truths in my life. C.S. Lewis got it right: “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”I have a talent for taking the pain and difficulties of life and shaping them in a litany of complaints that can grab control of my life at any given moment. Whenever my spirit lives in the complaint department of life, I know I’ve taken control of my life and I am no longer trusting God’s Spirit as my source of life and Jesus as Lord. Restlessness and discontent will be in the air that I breathe. I will grow smaller in spirit and more miserly in action. The alternative is to give up my way and embrace the way of the cross, which it seems to me is at the center of Romans 5:1-5:

Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He has brought us by faith into this experience of God’s grace, in which we now live. And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory!  We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God’s approval, and his approval creates hope.  This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us.

See you Sunday. Here’s what I have on my desk…

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL PREPARATIONS ARE IN FULL SWING! We will have a table in the Fellowship Hall between services this Sunday with opportunities for you to donate needed items or sign up to volunteer during the week of June 26 – 30.

9:00 AM-11:30 AM: Maker Fun Factory Vacation Bible School: $35.00

11:30 AM-2:00 PM: Music Maker Arts Camp: $35.00 (includes lunch)

Register YOUR CHILDREN now at www.andrewpres.org

WOMEN’S FELLOWSHIP ANNUAL PICNIC / POTLUCK will be at The Sonoma Plaza on Wednesday, June 14th at 11:00 AM. We will be at the picnic tables on the Northeast corner of the Plaza, across from the Sonoma Barracks. All women are welcome and invited to attend. Please pack up your favorite potluck picnic dish and bring your plates and utensils and join in the fun. Drinks will be provided. Please RSVP so we reserve enough space to ‘Nita Summers 707-933-9912 / [email protected] or Mary Kaufmann 707-343-1410 / [email protected]

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