Summary: Life isn't fair. Life isn't just. How can I avoid being defeated by the truth that "in this world I will experience trouble?"
OPEN: Tom had never gone deep-sea fishing before, and once he was out at sea he began to think it was the stupidest thing he'd ever done in his life. Who would ever have believed that seasickness could be this awful? With every pitch and roll, Tom wondered how he was going to survive the remaining two hours of the trip.
About that time one of the deckhands came up to him and said,"Don't worry, young fella. Nobody ever died of seasickness."
Tom looked up and cried, "Oh please don't say that. It's the hope of dying that's keeping me alive."
How many of you have ever experienced car sickness or motion sickness?
Me too. It’s really unpleasant isn’t it?
It goes by many names:
• Travel sickness
• Air sickness
• Car sickness
• Sea sickness
• Even SPACE sickness (astronauts get “motion sickness” too)
It happens when our eyes get focused on something that isn’t moving while the vehicle we’re riding in IS moving. It happens a lot to me if I’m trying to read a book while I’m a passenger in a car. My eyes are focused on the book. The book isn’t moving …but the car is. My inner ear senses the motion of the vehicle. But there’s this conflict with what my eyes are sensing.
So, when we suffer from motion sickness it’s because there’s a conflict between REALITY - which our inner ear is experiences and a FALSE IMPRESSION – which is what our eyes PERCEIVE.
As a result we get disoriented and dizzy and nauseated.
It’s the difference between perception (of that which is not true) and reality (which is true) that gives us motion sickness.
I Peter tells us that we are travelers in this world. Peter says
• We need to “live (our) lives as strangers here” I Peter 1:17
• And that we are indeed “aliens and strangers in the world” I Peter 2:11
Now as we “travel” through this world we can get disoriented, because we may perceive things to be true that aren’t. And if there arises a conflict between our PERCEPTION of what is true and the REALITY of what is true then that conflict will make us uncomfortable and disoriented and we’ll end up with a form of spiritual motion sickness.
For example Peter implies that we can have this perception that life is should be fair.
But in reality life is not be fair.
Peter tells us we WILL encounter “unjust suffering” 1 Peter 2:19
And that – in this a world we WILL “suffer for doing good” 1 Peter 2:20
Now, that doesn’t seem right! That frustrates us because – we’re Christians. We serve the most High God, the powerful creator of the universe. Our perception is, that as Christians, we shouldn’t be suffering, but the reality is – we will suffer.
Jesus said: “In this world you will have trouble.” John 16:33
James tells us “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds...” James 1:2-3
Paul tells us “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Timothy 3:12
And Peter agrees: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12
So, that’s the reality.
We ARE going to suffer and face difficulties, and persecution and hardship, and life will not be easy for us even though we are Christians.
We don’t belong here. We are not citizens of this world… we’re just passing through.If we don’t understand that, we will suffer MORE …and we’ll be disoriented and we’ll be uncomfortable and sick to our stomachs.
That’s the truth.
But if that single truth is all you perceive… if ALL you believe is that you’ll suffer in this world/nothing’s ever going to go right… then you end up becoming a cynic, a fatalist who will never succeed in your faith.
ILLUS: I read the story once about a Civil War reenactment where the South lost to the North. The men taking part were dressed in traditional civil war garb, wool uniforms, and it was a hot miserable day. On top of that, a lot of things weren’t going right and many of them were getting frustrated. Finally one miserable “Rebel” threw down his hat and walked away. He was grumbling and complaining as he walked off: “I quit. We’re not going to win anyway.”
He was defeated.
He was finished.
He had accepted the idea that his role involved suffering and he wanted no part of it.
So he simply walks away.
He’d lost sight of the joy he’s once known in playing his part in this historical event.
And that can happen to a lot Christians if all they see is the suffering they have to endure. If they sense that all life is is one long time of hardship and frustration they can get defeated and discouraged and walk away.