It’s so hard, it’s easy. Or maybe it’s so easy, it’s hard. It’s so difficult, it’s simple. Or again, maybe it’s so simple, it’s difficult.
I’m talking about living out one’s faith. Faith is a tricky thing. It’s something we claim we believe, but are often challenged by it. How often do we fail to live into that faith, doing the things that are the exact opposite of what we claim to believe.
Maybe an example would be helpful. I claim to be a Christian who believes in the power of prayer. Yet, for such a long time, prayer was absent from my life – only there when I needed something from God. I said I would pray for someone, but beyond voicing that, it just didn’t happen. Or I would say a passing prayer and move on. But I didn’t want to deal with that head on. Yet, God works in mysterious ways.
I’ve been contemplating prayer for a good long time now – several years actually. My prayer life has varied in how I would classify it. Recently, it’s taken on a new form. And I’ve learned so much from this. I’ve learned a great deal about prayer, but even more – so much more.
It’s really hard to offer prayers for people and then turn around and criticize others. It’s really hard to offer peace and then turn around and clamor for revenge, justice, violence or “to get the bad guys.” It’s really hard to offer forgiveness and then turn around and start judging. It’s really hard to offer love and then turn around and speak of hate and anger. It’s really hard to talk about the Kingdom of God and turn around and live according to the kingdoms of the world. It’s really hard to offer grace and turn around use force. It’s really hard to talk about God’s action in the world and turn around and only focus on evil and violence and death and torture and terror. It’s really hard to talk about resurrection and restoration and new life and turn around and accept that the world has to be the way it is and that change is impossible. It’s really hard to talk about salvation being a gift from God and turn around to a world that continually fails at solving it’s own problems and thinks this is normal.
Saying we believe something, but living a different way is meant to be hard. It’s a message to us that we are out of alignment. We’re called to something different. Where our words and our beliefs and our actions align with one another. It makes life so much more enjoyable and in an odd way – easier. Not easier in the sense that everything goes well all the time, but easier in a different sense – it’s easier to live with yourself. And with the world.