Recently Kent Bush of the Pekin, IL times wrote an op-ed piece titled, “It’s just too hard to go to church.” Being someone who tries to make sure church is worth going to, I was interested. Bush talks about how full life is, and how difficult it is to squeeze in one more thing. Then he drops the bomb. He points to a pastor in Iran, Yousef Nadarkhani who has been convicted to die because of his faith in Jesus Christ. For him church is a matter worth life itself and he may pay that price. But for us, it may be too easy to let our contact with the creator of the universe to be just another option that we contemplate squeezing in to already-too-packed schedules. Bush’s point is that it isn’t hard for us at all when we see what going to church cost Nadarkhani.
We build a life one decision at a time. Some decisions have an immediate effect; stepping on the brake when a child zips into the street, choosing not to bid as an auction price gets higher, ordering one thing and not the other on a menu. Other decisions in life have a longer horizon; choosing to exercise regularly, watching high-fat foods, or pursuing a faith walk and all its attendant requirements. The problem with choices that have a long horizon is that the moment of consequence often arrived unexpected; a health crisis, a grief or a time when faith would provide the bedrock to see us through a difficult time. It is true that God invites us to turn to Him in our crisis situations, but when we encounter those moments will we know enough of God to recognize Him or see His hand at work when He shows up?
These times demand much from us. The wise person continues to build reserves wherever he or she is able. What decisions are you making to build the spiritual reserves you would want should crisis come? Yousef Nadarkhani, I think, made a decision every week. I have a suspicion that the reserves he has built over the years are strengthening him for the ordeal he is facing. I hope that you and I never have to face something that severe. Yet God’s people always have faced challenges. Let us make the kinds of decisions that give us the ability to face the situations that will challenge us in the future. Let us determine to make wise choices that build our awareness and worship of God.