Throughout the Old Testament, we see a pattern of the people who were God's chosen people, the Israelites. God would bless them abundantly, then they would be full and satisfied. Then they would turn away from God and turn to idolatry. Then God's blessings were gone, and they would suffer and cry out to God once again. God would bless them. They would be satisfied. Then they became proud and self-sufficient and autonomous. Autonomous means they pulled away from God and became self-sufficient. Then they would suffer. They suffered greatly. Then they cried out to God once more and God, in His mercy, would provide for them. The Israelites never seemed to learn their lesson. Sadly, we haven't learned it either.
I am aware that many different people actually started our nation, but there were groups of people who did trust in the Lord. Some of them were just God fearing people, and respected God and His rules. Whatever happened, and whatever resulted was purely God's mercy and blessing on our nation. And that blessing has continued for 200 + years now.
The people in America have become satisfied though, and have pulled away from God. We are one of the most prosperous nations that ever existed in human history, yet, we are a most unhappy people now. We are at the stage, where we know what it is like to be blessed, yet, we are also experiencing difficulties because of our independence from God. Suffering and difficulties are all around us, yet we don't know how to respond to them.
The philosophies of our culture which have come out of all this, would teach us that we are entitled to have good things. We expect good things to happen to us, and we expect life to be easy for us. We are surprised when difficulties come, and many of us faint during the times of testing. Basically, we have not be trained to do hard things. We are trained to take the easy way out, and when there is no easy way out, we just quit or run away from our problems, or worse, we commit suicide.
My dad had a good, mature understanding of this. He was born in 1931 and saw his share of wartime. He was involved in the Korean War, and when he returned home, he married, got a job, and went to college as he couldn't do these things while away from home. Life was not very easy, but he was a happy man. But my dad could see danger coming. I was a teenager and he would make this remark often: 'He needs to go into the army. It will make a man out of him' Or, 'they need to go into the army'. What was it about going into the army that was supposed to help with this problem he was foreseeing? It was simply that children were growing up expecting life to be handed to them on a silver platter. There was the thought of 'entitlement'. Young people were demanding their 'rights' as American citizens. They were pursuing the American Dream and no one was going to interfere with it.
Having a good economy has not always helped in equipping us for the demands of life. We become independent of God, for one thing. We become proud and self-sufficient. And we become weak when it comes to difficulties and hardships. If we have a problem, we can buy our way out of it, usually. But sadly, when we have difficulties, we usually just quit. We quit our jobs. We quit our marriages. We quit life.
Sadly, those things that should be precious to us, are not. We do not hold our families in high regard. We sacrifice our families for convenience. Look at how far away we have gotten from the true and living God. A teenage girl gets pregnant and mom rushes her to the abortion clinic. Mom will find a way to pay for the abortion. God forbid that another mouth to feed would come into the family! So, let's pay a lot of money to have our grandchild murdered. It's worth it for our convenience. How sad. How many people are going to suffer through this, all because mom wants a convenient life! Or take the commonality of divorce. How many have said, 'I just don't love my spouse anymore'? Or they may have said, 'I am just not happy in this marriage'. How many have thought 'It is just too hard. I want out.'?
We see people quitting their jobs, people getting divorces, people eating unhealthfully, and people suffering needlessly. Why? It is because we value convenience and our 'happiness' over everything else. If its not easy, we give up. That is not what God would have us do though.
If we know God, and have a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, life will be hard. If we are non-believers, living for ourselves, life will be hard. Life is going to be hard, for both believers and non-believers. But what will make the difference is 1. the grace of God working in our lives, and 2. the love of God in our hearts providing the desire to make sacrifices for what is best.
The Bible says that God's people perish for a lack of vision. When we aimlessly go through life, we will have no vision or incentive for living. We will have no choice but to be self-centered and self-seeking. We will be bored because there is nothing bigger than ourselves to live for. Living for self is an end in itself. It is fun for a while, but in the end it is no longer enjoyable. It is short lived.
God created human beings to worship Him, and worship Him alone. When we have desires for other things and those desires are higher than our desire for God, we are not living for what we were created for. Our lives really will be empty. The devil tricks us into thinking that our lives can be fun. That's why entertainment is so popular. Amusement is big business in America. A life void of God has to be filled with something, but whatever it is filled with, won't fulfill for very long.
We can only do hard things if we desire something greater. Only living our lives out for God will be the right motivation for us to live and it will be the only way we can see the need to do hard things. When we love God, we will love other people. When we love other people we will be willing to make the sacrifices necessary for those loved ones to succeed. When we love our spouses, we will be willing to make sacrifices for them, even at the expensive of our own happiness, when necessary. Basically, we can only love other people when our relationship with God is right. Either we will serve God or we will serve something else. We can't serve two things at the same time!
God will give us the grace to do hard things. God will give us the desire to do hard things. Jesus did that hardest things of all time. He knew though, that there would be joy as a result of His dying on the Cross for our sins. The reward would be great. If His love is in our hearts, we will be able to do hard things, as God sovereignly puts us in places that will require persevering. The choice is ours. Do we want to live an empty, selfish life or do we want to live for something or Someone way higher than ourselves?
"With over 35 million hits to their website TheRebelution.com, Alex and Brett Harris are leading the charge in a growing movement of Christian young people who are rebelling against the low expectations of their culture by choosing to “do hard things” for the glory of God.
Written when they were 18 years old, Do Hard Things is the Harris twins’ revolutionary message in its purest and most compelling form, giving readers a tangible glimpse of what is possible for teens who actively resist cultural lies that limit their potential.
Combating the idea of adolescence as a vacation from responsibility, the authors weave together biblical insights, history, and modern examples to redefine the teen years as the launching pad of life and map a clear trajectory for long-term fulfillment and eternal impact."