Somewhere between a tent and a log cabin lies a “yurt,” a circular, canvas structure filled with bunk beds to snuggly sandwich your entire family. You can enjoy all the joys of sleeping in a tent, like hearing your neighbors snore, babies crying at the crack of dawn and bacon cooking on the campfire grill. However, you do not have to sleep on an uncomfortable, hard-as-rock dirt floor where you wiggle to find a comfy sleeping spot. You are also immune from the bugs and critters that may go bump in the night.
Therefore, to my dismay, when we entered into the ranger station and saw a brochure describing our yurting hut, it described our experience as “camping light.” And this entire time, I thought I was roughing it. Anything that demands a community style bathroom experience in my opinion should at least be considered the real deal. I still wake up at the crack of dawn. I have no cell phone service or internet connectivity. I have to make a fire to stay warm. And finally, every meal involves stoking a fire to heat up the griddle.
No one ever told me how difficult life could be. Day after day of feeling completely spent. At the end of my rope, I somehow barely found a string to hold onto.
Rather than looking at our experience as something that would help make us more like Christ, we beg God to take it away. When our situation and circumstances don’t quickly dissipate, we begin to question God’s intelligence and sovereignty in our matters. If we see no change in sight, we often resort to whining, complaining and throwing serious temper tantrums.
Christian living has never been easy. To fully experience the promises of God, we must activate our faith. Faith comes by hearing, not by seeing. Living out loud for Christ means leaving a visible mark. To live in any other way, is to not truly live. A yurting lifestyle lies somewhere between radical Christianity, the real deal, and just faking it. Scripture refers to a yurting lifestyle as “lukewarm.” It falls in the limbo area between living a sold-out life where Jesus Christ is your everything and the occasional church attender. As the park ranger would say, “yurting” is Christian light. You may be able to talk the talk, but from the looks of your life, you are not able to walk the walk. You blend right in with everyone else in the crowd.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16
Jesus lived differently. He lived life to leave a visible mark. A mark is made by an identifiable source. It sets you apart. It signifies you are different. We all made a mark on Jesus decades ago when we drove the nails into His hands. Therefore, let’s not be so quick to dismiss the pain, the suffering and circumstances, which come our way. Let’s not so hastily complain and grumble. Rather, let them leave their mark and set you apart. Let them drive you to faith. Let them lead you to the end of your rope so you can find hope.
“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:25
Thomas doubted he saw the reincarnated Jesus until he saw the visible mark. What mark are you leaving? Can people tell you apart? Do you react differently than others in the midst of pain and suffering? When at the end of your rope, whom do you turn to?
I’ve become more aware of my own shortcomings. Will I allow God to choose my path, which is perfectly suited for me? Or will I complain and kick up the dust along the way? Just over a month ago a mosquito carrying chickungunya bit me. I never expected a single mosquito bite could significantly alter my life. I wake up throughout the night from pain and feel every step I take throughout the day. The joint pain is relentless. Through this experience, I’ve become more aware of my friends who live daily with physical pain. They never complain. They don’t give up. As rocky as the road becomes, they do not falter. In spite of severe difficulty, they welcome life with joy. (See 1 Thessalonians 1:6) May I live following their Christlike example.