I was driving one of our teens home from work and he asked, "Why do you guys do this?" I think the question was sparked by some of the tough situations in our home lately, maybe particularly in regards to a choice he had made.
It had been a long day, no, long few weeks. And all I could think to say was, "Because it's meaningful. And to do something that really matters is always hard. Everyone's life will be hard, so why not make it matter, you know?"
The conversation went on and we had a good talk, touching on the conflict of living for others but wanting to make a good life for yourself. It was one of those talks that had substance to it, made you feel like something real had been said.
Sometimes I wonder (and have I written this before?) if His yoke is easy and His burden is light, why is kingdom living so excruciating? I'm not talking about church attendance or tithing or "doing the right thing". I mean the kingdom life: loving people who are hurting, turning the other cheek, denying yourself for those who may not even notice or care, choosing to forgive even when unasked, valuing souls over all other things, having hard talks, serving my spouse, and the constant choice to not think about myself.
I think the kingdom life that I experience is a lot more like Paul's grueling description in 2 Cor. 6 of "hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger" than the light yoke promised by Christ. I am not in any way implying that Jesus lied, I just wrestle with what He meant when He said that.
(I keep retyping this paragraph 'cause I'm not really sure how to end this whole thought. I'm tired, pregnant, often overwhelmed with the reality of what it means to truly follow God in this phase of my life. I find great encouragement in the way Paul wraps up his ministry description- so I think I'll end with that passage. Blessings to you and yours as you seek to carry His yoke on this kingdom road.)
"We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything."
2 Corinthians 6:3-10