Are American Christians Soft?

Recently I preached on the topic "Loving God With All Your Strength". That the message coincided with the Winter Olympics gave me ample metaphors from the world of sport. For the week prior to the message we had seen via TV athletes who "played hurt" because participating in the Olympics meant so much to them. One athlete fell into a ravine, clamored out and finished the ski race. A post race exam showed that she had four broken ribs and a punctured lung. Oh that American Christians had such "grit".
In our day, a headache, sniffles, allergies, being "worn out" from being a week end athlete on Saturday and any number of other minor maladies will often take a believer out of action on Sunday.
Amazingly, healing takes place in time for work or school on Monday. We can play through pain and tiredness for the sake of a grade or a paycheck, but not in service for our King.
I recently read a quote by C. S. Lewis which said, "God whispers to us through our ease, He speaks to us through our consciences, but He shouts to us through our pain." That reminds me of the Paul Billheimer book, "Don't Waste Your Sorrows". The premise of both the quote and the book is that often our greatest blessings lay just beyond pain, suffering or sorrow. These are so distasteful to us that we will spend great efforts and large sums of money to avoid or escape pain or suffering, never realizing that these are tools which God uses in our lives.
At the end of the sermon on "Loving God With All Your Strength", I quoted from the hymn "Am I A Soldier of the Cross".
"Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?"
When the circumstances of the American Christian gets tough (and they will) are we going to be ready to heed the words of the Apostle Paul, "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (Eph. 6:13 NKJV)

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