A needful exhortation, Seth! I love your call to pray and ask God to move us in the right direction. There is a danger in easily staying in a rut and needing to just do something. Yet, there is also a danger in being radical for being radical-sake. I believe it is a matter of sincere yieldedness and glad obedience!
Jesus Came to Give You a Train Wreck
Jesus didn’t come to make your life easy, but complicated.
He doesn’t care about your comfort or fun as much as your growth and intimacy.
He sees you going down a nice, easy train track and, because he loves you, he wants to give you a train wreck.
He talked about a wide path that leads to destruction.*
He talked about a casper milquetoast faith that made him sick.**
He talked about denying yourself and dying daily.***
Unfortunately, those are not things we were taught in our churches.
A lot of us disciple our kids to have their cake and eat it too.
Our churches tend to disciple them to pray a prayer that buys them eternal salvation and not much more.
From there they focus on comfort as a priority.
When Jesus talked about being born again, he never said, “pray a prayer and you’re done.”
Think about being born – it is a wrenching, bloody experience. It is going from a safe, warm environment to a foreign, painful one.
So that’s why I say what we need is not more comfort, but remedial pain. We need a spiritual spine adjustment.
Seen from that perspective, a train wreck is a gracious event. If we’re headed in the wrong direction, a train wreck stops us so we can get re-oriented and go in the right direction.
It’s why I’m such a big fan of a pilgrimage – a journey that allows God to interrupt your life and help you get on the right track. It can activate the discombobulating grace that some of us need.
If you look at your life and sense that God might want to interrupt you, the good news is, it’s not too late.
Yes, your life may already seem too complicated. Yes, you may be too old to go on the World Race, but there’s a path that’s right for you.
The first step is to pause and just ask him about it.
Maybe something like: “God, I don’t like pain. And I don’t like backtracking. But even more than that, I don’t want to miss your best for my life. Please do what it takes to get me moving in the right direction.“
The God who loves you, who created you for a full, amazing life, will put you back on the right track.
** Rev. 3:16
*** Luke 9:23
I want out of the muddy ruts where I’ve allowed my heart to settle. It’s good to know you’re there too, Kathy.
Love your message, Seth. Direct, honest, hard hitting, TIMELY and to the point.
Boom and amen! Thanks for the reminder!
Words of truth, for sure. As we walk through the times of struggle and even brokenness, we can know that our Papa God will see us through the pain. What a blessing to know that on the far side of the journey we will walk with a deeper and more intimate understanding of who He is and how much He loves us. Thank you, Seth, for your words of Challenge AND encouragement.
Your words carry the weight of you having lived them. What you say is profound because you’ve lived it.
God bless you as you continue to walk on the far side of your journey. You are an inspiration!
Seth this is stellar. As someone who has had my fair share of “derailments” in life the principle is an axiom for life that God allows burrs under saddles, sand in our favorite sandwich, dripping faucets of despair and tenacious termites gnawing into our protective fortress of the heart. “Dis-quiet” is often his idea.
As a World Race participant and follower of you blog for quite some time now I’ve got some hard questions for you.
Let start by saying I think you have some excellent points in your blog about christian seeking “spiritual insurance”. And those who are ignorantly claiming salvation and doing some “good” things thinking they living as Jesus instructed.
But are you really proposing that God intentionally causes pain and difficulty in our lives? That He wills bad things to happen to us?
What a dangerous teaching!
Regardless of your beliefs I hope you don’t encourage or act as the apathetic “christian” who tells people that God’s will was for their children to die, for cancer, financial hardship, or loosing a job. It simply doesn’t align with the character God displayed in the bible and nor does line up with your own teachings that God loves us like a father.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Too often we create theologies or belief systems out of a desperation to explain things here on earth.
Sovereign will – Gods will is to cause us pain to teach us things things and grow us.
Cessation – Holy Spirit doesn’t do those things any more cause I don’t see them.
Rapture – They world is terrible place, we can’t defeat the devil so eventually Jesus will rescue us.
It’s sad because we go to great lengths quoting the bible to convince ourselves of something we want to believe. Perhaps this is why Jesus warned about false teachers.
I would propose God doesn’t need pain to teach us. Holy Spirit doesn’t require pain to transform us. It’s the work of Holy Spirit in us not pain that transforms us.
The idea that suffering pain makes you closer to God or “holy” is no different than Pharisees teaching that following the law makes us holy. Your access to God is the same as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. Missionaries who suffer for Christ have the same access to God as the professional athlete, business owner and daily church goer have. So let’s be careful not to boast in the pain we suffered.
Ephesians 2:8 addresses that very issue.
What are you saying Bryan?????
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
This verse is promise that God weaves a blessing, a lesson or hope into the bad things that happen to use. Man allowed sin to enter the world and with it came pain and suffering. God did not will for those things to happen. But God finds a way to make good things come from even the worst tragedy. In fact He’s so good if you don’t know his character you could get confused and think he actually caused the tragedy.
I believe the bible clearly teaches that when God created the world and placed man in the Garden that these things didn’t happen. And in heaven they don’t exist. And our goal is to make earth like heaven right? So the goal is to eliminate sin and all it’s effects, including pain.
I thought you believed, and taught, that Jesus having conquered these things gave us a Spirit by which we can over come them as well. A spirit of power and of love. (2 timothy 1:7)
Here in lies my issue with your blog. If I were to follow this teaching I would encourage other to find pain. So they could grow, because that would take them closer to God. Sounds a little off when it’s put that way doesn’t it? See the problem is I don’t believe it’s what God wants.
He wants to make the world look like Heaven, to return it to Eden. Might we experience pain along the way, yes. And God works some good out of the pain but that doesn’t mean God wills it or we should go looking for it for ourselves. I can and have grown spiritually a ton with out pain, in fact the best growth happened in safe places. Which is why I propose we should be seeking out others pain and easing it with love.
Most pain drives people who don’t know God away from Him. Because it’s the result of sin and the instrument of the devil. In it we have a unique opportunity to reveal God’s love and plan for the perfect world with out pain. This gives life to people, by bring intimacy and hope.
May the words we write and the discussion that ensue lead us all to find abundant life, intimacy and hope.
Thanks for sharing a topic that inspired such deep thoughts.
Yes, those are deep thoughts, Bryan. Glad to see you thinking on these things. Like any dad, God does not wish pain for his kids, but uses it as a tool to help them grow.
Bryan thanks for your comments, life experiences and the scripture references. I have often told our now four adult children that difficulties in life can be traced to multiple sources including poor choices on our point and their consequences, the choices of others which damage us, a sinfully fallen world and an active tireless engagement of The Evil One and minions to follow through on the dark destiny to “steal, kill and destroy.” Its no wonder Jesus intoned “In this world you WILL have trouble but don’t despair because I have overcome the world.”
Right on! Preach it, Brother Seth! Loved this one. Blessings…
Thank you for this timely message. I think I got my train wreck this week. I look forward to seeing what God will do.