It’s not as easy as you think, to completely submit yourself to God and his plan for you. It’s not so easy to make yourself wake up each morning and open the Holy Bible. You are filled with doubt about almost every aspect of what it means to be a Christian. You can see that there are plenty of Christians who are nothing like you, and plenty of atheists who seem to be much more likely to resonate with how you think and feel.
But, at the end of the day, you are not one to go for easy answers. You don’t believe that you were put here merely to find happiness. Happiness is but one of any number of feelings and emotions that you have to experience in this life. Feeling good isn’t the ultimate goal for the man who is stuck inside a burning building. Why yes, he could take the easy route, and find a stash of booze and quickly intoxicate himself into a sleepy, drunken death. Then, when the flames come to the room he’s in, he won’t feel a thing. His final memories will be happy ones.
Of course, you don’t believe in seeking out pain, either. Some people have accused you of this in the past, but it just isn’t true. Just because you are cautious about seeking out happiness and good feelings for their own sake doesn’t mean that you go about seeking pain for its own sake, either. The man stuck inside the burning building might have to run through the flames to get out, or he might not. If a rescue chopper has arrived on the roof, and the flames are all on floors below him, then it would be the height of folly and masochism for him to run down flights of stairs into the flames to try to escape through a ground floor exit.
Of course, you want to love the Lord and be like one of these enraptured Christians you see in the videos at megachurches with their eyes glazed over and their arms waving as they chant the same phrase of a praise band’s poppy tune over and over again. But, you also want your love of the Lord to accompany you in environments where such blithe hand-waving would get you killed. You want to know a Love that will not leave you by mid-day, as your heightened ecstasy from chanting love mantras and praying fervently to Jesus often does.
By mid-day, you are back to being you–a common and unremarkable sort of man without any apparent gifts from God. You don’t have the gift of tongues or the gift of healing. You aren’t blessed with especially musical ears that could help you lead a praise band, and you are dead wrong about the future every single time you try to predict it (you are such a non-prophet that the sun would surely rise in the west tomorrow were you to prophesy it will rise in the east). You are a man who has to go work in the office and push buttons for other people all day long. As much as you want to become a leader of some kind of group of somebodies, you inevitably find that your tongue is tied when you are asked to speak up in front of others.
You are a common man who is sometimes quick to anger, but other times can be overcome with tears when told a heartwarming story of a small child or animal that was saved from a brutal environment. It doesn’t take much to make you weepy, but you have managed to learn to hold back the tears like a real man should. You have learned to be quicker to forgive others when they slight you, but you are still way too slow to forgive someone like a great Christian should.
Loving the Lord isn’t easy, and you find days where you truly believe that the Lord has it in for you, as if you were a 21st century Job. Loving your fellow man is even harder, but at least you are in plenty of good company there. Loving the Lord is hard for you as well, because there are so many unanswered questions and unanswered prayers. As you get older, too many things happen in life that leave you asking, “why oh Lord, why?”
And yet, you can’t ever stop believing. It is not in your nature. You are a true believer, and will believe no matter how many atheists, old and new, scoff at you and mock you. No matter how bad it gets in the world, and how much you might be persecuted, you will always believe. It’s not a matter of being easy or hard when it comes to believing in God, his son Jesus and the Holy Ghost. You just do. However, learning to love them the way you might love your own child or even yourself is hard.
For that matter, learning to love your self has been a rocky road of its own.