Hi everyone, Rob here.
I’ve been thinking a bit lately about the power of inconvenience. In our western world everything is on hand. Technological changes have meant that we can contact people wherever, whenever. If we want food we just go to the local supermarket, and to pay for it we just hand over a card. We can order online anything we want – be it books, music, the latest gadgets, you name it. We can watch any movie, any TV show, any music clip, anytime. Wikipedia gives us instant information and cheaper air travel means that the world is within our reach. Our every want and desire is within our grasp if we have the means to pay for it and the technology to access it.
This means that when we are confronted with inconvenience it can be very disruptive. From health issues, money worries, relationship breakdowns and the loss of a loved one to a computer crash and engine failure, our resilience in the face of inconvenience and disruption is at an all time low. Our society has trained us to believe that life should be easy and convenient and our character has suffered as a result.
Romans 5:1-5 says:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
The harsh reality is that in the world’s most affluent nations there is declining faith. Convenience doesn’t help us to grow. It breeds an illusion of self-sufficiency and competence. God isn’t needed.
But the reality is that we can’t hide from suffering or run away from obstacles. Life is hard. Humanity has fallen into sin, the devil is alive, angry and active and suffering and death happens to everyone. Including you, me and the people we love. Don’t believe the hype. Convenience is not the highest aspiration of your heart. Life with God is.
The fact is that we resist the allure of convenience all the time. We fall in love, raise children, take on study or other projects, seek promotion, serve others, exercise, travel or go on other adventures and try new things often, even if it’s just the new café that’s opened down the road. We resist a life of mere convenience because we instinctively know that it’s numbing us to the thrill of life. We want to feel alive, feel free, feel emotions and feel close to God’s love because he designed us that way. He set eternity in our hearts and our hearts aren’t fully satisfied until we find it.
But if that means resisting a life of convenience then we need to learn how to deal with inconvenience. Faith requires trust. As we learn to trust Christ and his eternal love for us we realise that no matter what, we’re OK. He has us. His love is constant. Our identity in him is secure. Our joy remains. We trust that all will be well because what he achieved through his cross and resurrection is nothing less than the assurance that the kingdom will come in all its glorious fullness and evil will be destroyed forever. When we trust Christ we become free to truly live; free to put down the remote and the mouse; free to take risks; free to live out of our good hearts.
Do something inconvenient this week. Stand in a longer queue. Park further away than you’d like. Do the dishes by hand (some of us don’t have any choice). Spend a solid half hour reading your bible or in silence. Walk to work slowly. Give money away. Just do it. Break the mould. Pursue a deeper reality. Trust God. You’re OK.