Lent 6 - Get behind me, Satan!
One of the most common misconceptions about Christianity is that a Christian's life will be easy. Many people who come to faith in Christ are shocked when their life is not suddenly easier than it was before.
Jesus himself spoke about experiencing suffering and his disciples did not like it. When Jesus told them that he would suffer many things and that he would be rejected and eventually killed, Peter took him aside and rebuked him. Jesus replies with possibly one of the greatest lines in all of Scripture: "Get behind me, Satan!"
Obviously, Jesus did not think that Peter was literally the prince of darkness, but Jesus' response shows us that Peter did not understand the ways of God.
This misconception about a Christians life becoming easier goes further in that many people claim that Christians should always put on a brave face and constantly be happy, no matter what is going on in their lives. This false belief that a Christian should always be happy is why there is still such a stigma around depression and other serious mental health issues in the Church today. Christians are going to encounter struggles and they are allowed to experience the whole spectrum of human emotions. Even Jesus cried and got angry.
I do believe that a child of God is able to experience a deep sense of peace, joy and hope in the midst of their troubles, but this does not mean that they will never experience the usual human feelings of sadness, anger and frustration.
So perhaps the next time someone tells you to just cheer up because Christians should be happy all the time, you can consider replying as Jesus did: "Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns."
Prayer: Compassionate God, You experienced struggles and opposition like no other. When life gets hard and we feel like giving up, help us to remember that you understand our pain. Thank You for Your compassion. May we learn to acknowledge all of our emotions and give others the space that they need to deal with their personal struggles. Amen.
Image Source: Milada Vigerova