This week, I found myself saying, “why does this have to be so hard?” I read a great article two weeks ago titled “Why Simple Rules Produce Better Decisions” by Valeria Maltoni. In the article she explains the beliefs found in a book by Donald Sull and Kathleen Eisenhardt – “Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World”. The authors believe that we should use small sets of simple rules — “shortcut strategies that save time and effort by focusing our attention and simplifying the way we process information.” Simple rules work because they allow for flexibility, they produce better decisions because they make decision-making fast and easy and, they allow for activities to be synchronized on the fly; doing what is inherently right for the greater purpose.
But I wasn’t trapped in rules of overly complex situations; I was being challenged on matters that should have been quite simple. The other side of things being hard is when we get bad news. Another week has gone by with someone I know (I used to work with him) being diagnosed with cancer. This young man with a young family will have to go through a great deal to just have a chance to survive. I’m not the only one who has this happening all around him; my guess is that everyone knows someone dealing with a hardship. We can’t over simplify these challenges and we can’t write new rules for how they are applied; we are not in control. Today’s verse reminds us that the road to the kingdom of God is not easy. We need to remember that the destination however, is paradise.
“We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22
I wish I knew why we had to go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus took our sins upon Himself and suffered for them so that we may be blameless in God’s eyes. We are assured of that in the bible. So why do we have to suffer in this life? I’d like to think, because no one really knows, that we need to appreciate all that God has done for us. If you look back over time, the human race has not been very good at following the Commands of God. He gave us 10 simple rules to follow and the human race found ways around them or through them.
I often use the phrase made famous by Ronald Reagan, “Trust but Verify”. Is this what God is doing with us? Is God trusting us to do what He commands and have Jesus as our one and only savior but at the same time, is He verifying our faith in Jesus? Where do we turn when things get bad, who do we rely on and how do we react in these times of hardships? There is only one simple answer; we must turn to God when we are faced with hardships. He will be with us all the way. He has never promised a smooth ride or a simple life; hardship builds character and demonstrates our faith in God. Maybe this is why we need to be grounded in the troubles of this life. The road will be rough but it leads us to paradise – eternal life with God.