I am sure that a survey of this nature would yield a huge variety of answers.
I would say that, since I started getting serious about my faith journey, life has been more enjoyable. I still have a lot of "old ways" about me that drag me down. But living out a faith-filled life ... and being in a network of other Christians ... there is something hugely enjoyable about that.
But life is always tough. I received an email recently from an old college friend telling me that her 22 year marriage is coming to an end. For the past two years, her husband has been living with another woman, leaving her to largely care for their two teenage daughters. Stuff like that is really tough ... and it breaks my heart to think of what all she has gone through.
Many people are trying to encourage her right now but it must be incredibly difficult for her to see through all of this. I just pray that she will see and feel Jesus in the midst of family and friends reaching out to her in love and compassion.
We'd be kidding ourselves if we didn't say that we all sometimes have questions and ruminations ... I am sure she has had her share during all she has gone through ... yet she has been what I would call nothing less than "saintly" waiting for two years for this silly husband of hers to come to his senses.
I Peter 4 provides the assurance and encouragement we all need to stay on the walk we're on as Christians ... to grow in our discipleship and following.
Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.
You've already put in your time in that God-ignorant way of life, partying night after night, a drunken and profligate life. Now it's time to be done with it for good. Of course, your old friends don't understand why you don't join in with the old gang anymore. But you don't have to give an account to them. They're the ones who will be called on the carpet—and before God himself.
Listen to the Message. It was preached to those believers who are now dead, and yet even though they died (just as all people must), they will still get in on the life that God has given in Jesus.
Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help. That way, God's bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he'll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.
If you're abused because of Christ, count yourself fortunate. It's the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others. If they're on you because you broke the law or disturbed the peace, that's a different matter. But if it's because you're a Christian, don't give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name!
It's judgment time for God's own family. We're first in line. If it starts with us, think what it's going to be like for those who refuse God's Message!
If good people barely make it,
What's in store for the bad?
So if you find life difficult because you're doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he's doing, and he'll keep on doing it.