Back when I was in high school, one of my biggest fears was that I would remain silent about my beliefs. I was afraid that I would allow my faith to slip to the background, and I would become Laodicean, a "lukewarm Christian" (if such a paradox even exists). I knew that I would be called by God to stand up for Christianity and its countercultural doctrine in class, around my friends, and during my personal devotions. I was scared to death that I would become another number in the overwhelming masses of students who reject the religions in which they have been raised.
Last night, as I drove home from a college "Bible study" (in which we study the human thoughts, opinions, and rationale of a particular professor whose faith does not seem to extend beyond the acquisition of a seminary degree), I was wroth with God. Enraged that He would plant me in an environment in which people claim to have a relationship with Him, then turn around and do and say things that are unbelievably contradictory to their confessions of faith. Livid that the only on-campus Christian organizations seem to be nothing more than watered-down, feel-good lessons on how to change your behaviors into those of a good person. Furious that the only people with whom I can discuss my walk with God and my spiritual discoveries are people who live at least an hour and fifteen minutes away. I look at so many of my dear friends and see how oblivious they are about the blessing having a fellow Christian live within even a half hour radius of them.
It was unfair, I decided, that God would place me smack-dab in the center of an indulgent environment, where everything I say seems to fall on deaf ears. In the midst of a self-pity party, I exclaimed to my dad last night, "It would be so much easier to do the work of God, if it weren't for all these pseudo-Christians getting in my way, confusing the truth with lies!"
In a fit of anger and hopelessness, I curled up on my couch and sobbed inconsolably. My parents hugged me and just sat there with me as I, overcome with the weariness that accompanied fulfilling God's calling, cried myself sick.
My tears subsided, as all tears eventually do. I sat there, shivering, when it occurred to me: my greatest fear is being dispelled. I was afraid of becoming a "lukewarm Christian" in college...and that's not happening. Slowly, I sat up, and a sense of peace overtook my spirit. While I was anticipating college, I was afraid I would not stand up for my faith, that I would not do the work of the Lord. But I am. My agony - no, that is not too strong a word - is proving that I am doing what God has called me to do. My most pressing nightmare is being proven wrong.
And I realized something. My anguished soul is not indicative of God leaving me; it is evidence that He is with me, and He is working within me. If things were "easy" - if I were allowing my faith to get swept under the rug, instead of doing the work of the Lord - I would not be experiencing these soul-rending difficulties. This burden, this pain that seems too crushing to bear, is a result of delving into this decadent culture; my sorrow is a product of my intention and labor for being just one candle in the middle of this tangible darkness.
There is peace in that. There is joy and honor and contentment in knowing that, even though times are so difficult that sometimes it's all I can do to stumble through another day without completely breaking down, I am fulfilling God's call for me.
If you're overwhelmed with sorrow for the weight of the unsaved world - if you're struggling with the glorious calling of constantly being a witness for Christ - please, understand that your pain is proof that you are being what you are meant to be.
Honestly, I would so much rather weep into my pillow every night, overcome with the need for God to strengthen me in the midst of the desperate weariness that tends to result from a continual striving to answer His call, than lie comfortably in bed at night, worrying that my stagnancy is slowly draining me of my faith.
His Calling is glorious. The things we must sacrifice in order to obey Him are nothing compared to the beauty of knowing we are being who we are meant to be. His Work is good. Let's not grow weary. Let's not give up.