The advertising campaign for a nationwide office supply company features something called an “easy” button. If I understand it correctly, the easy button represents the store’s efforts to relieve the “challenges and frustrations” that small businesses face by making it easy to buy office supplies. Personally, I have never had an especially difficult time purchasing office supplies, but I suppose I’m glad the store wants to make it easy.
There are some areas of life, however, that are a lot more challenging than buying office supplies. For example, my years in ministry have shown me that the most painful struggle that many people endure relates to their family life. Marriage and parenting (and being a kid!) aren’t always so easy. Angela and I have friends who recently adopted a sibling group of three children. They are facing extreme challenges as they seek to help these children adapt to a new country, a new language and culture, and a new family. The ease of daily tasks that our friends may have previously taken for granted is suddenly not very easy at all. Desiring to see my friends find some relief, I wish there was an “easy” button they could push that would make life a little smoother right now for everyone in their family.
In a very different vein, sharing the gospel with Muslims isn’t always easy. Working to find ways to help churches engage with Muslims during a pandemic is also challenging. Currently, I’m working with some of the Somali Bantu leaders to develop a program that will allow us to connect with their community and do teaching and development in a number of different ways. But to be honest, it’s not super easy. It’s not easy to get everybody on the same page. It’s not easy for all of the Bantu leaders to agree on the steps that can and/or should be taken. It’s not easy to mobilize a refugee community to embrace meeting via Zoom. Frankly, it’s not especially easy just to get all of the leaders together on a Zoom teleconference call. Has anyone seen the easy button – I kinda need it!
All that being said, the question comes to mind: Why didn’t God give us a spiritual version of the easy button? When we think about it for a moment, we realize he has good reasons (and probably even better reasons that we just don’t understand). The painful and uncomfortable truth (and sometimes VERY painful and uncomfortable truth) is that God desires to grow us and stretch us MORE than he desires for our lives to be easy. We see this at a micro level all over nature.
It is a struggle for a butterfly to emerge from the chrysalis. But that very same struggle causes the butterfly to be able to fly. Without the struggle, the butterfly cannot be what it was intended to be. God, in his passion to see us grow and develop, allows us the opportunity to live through hardship. We don’t have to pretend that it’s fun, but we should have confidence in the good plans that our loving heavenly father has for us. God is interested in something much deeper than our lives and ministries being easy. He is busy doing a good work in us and we can trust that he will use the bumps along the way to refine us into what he desires. No easy button required.
Submitted by T.K., Endeavor, Louisville, KY