If you’ve seen the movie American Sniper, or if you’ve read any books on the rigorous training that Navy Seals endure, then you know that becoming one of the world’s most elite soldiers is no walk in the park.
Navy Seal recruits are not only subject to torturous physical training, sleep deprivation, and exhaustion, but psychological strain that leaves them frustrated, angry, and confused. At the height of their training they routinely ask what this preparation has to do with winning battles and how near-hypothermia and peer humiliation will make them better soldiers. This is why most recruits quit.
The U.S. armed forces purposely put their most valuable and talented recruits in scary, uncomfortable places that leave them lonely and confused. This produces the best soldiers.
God does the same thing.
The call to discipleship is not primarily about happiness, comfort, or self-actualization. It’s about understanding that God has called the Church to do something at least as important as guarding borders and attacking enemies. Discipleship is about continued self-sacrifice and denial aimed at improving the lot of the poor, hungry, and suffering. It is about witnessing to hope in a hopeless world. It is about cultivating peace in the midst of chaos.
So are you like me – questioning why God allowed something to happen that has been painful, confusing, and frustrating? Maybe it’s a business deal that went south, a relationship that never materialized, a health problem that seemed so senseless, the untimely death of a loved one?
Take heart. Your suffering does not go unnoticed. In some way, Jesus is with us. He knows our pain and frustration. And just because he doesn’t take it away doesn’t mean he doesn’t love us. It means that he’s using it in ways we will never understand to do things we can’t conceive. Take heart and be of good hope, my friends, today’s present sufferings are the stuff of redemption.