by Tad Lindley
When I have guests over to my qasgiq sometimes there is discussion about the heat distribution. Often times they’ll look at me and say, “How come you let me sit in the hot spot?” And through observing people I have come to this generalization: most of the time when we compare we think that the spot we are sitting in is hotter than everyone else’s. We look at them chatting away while we are trying to keep from rolling on the floor and we start thinking thoughts like, “If you were in my spot tough guy, you would have run out screaming a long time ago.”
Trial and error
I generally like to pour when I am in my steam bath, but occasionally I’ll sit somewhere else. And maybe it’s because I’m on home turf (or should I say, “home plywood”), but when I sit in the spots that people said were the hot spot, I have found out that those spots (except the back right corner) are all really about the same. Which makes me wonder if we don’t go through life thinking, “The hottest spot is where I’m at, everyone else has it so much easier!”
Peter’s hot spot
After Jesus was resurrected from the dead and before he ascended up into heaven, he had a conversation with Peter. I’ll only include part of it for the sake of space. You can read all of it in your Bible (John 21:15-23). At one point Jesus tells Peter, “When you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go. Follow me.” Jesus was speaking prophetically about the events that would take Peter from this life into eternity; he would be crucified on a cross upside down, and then he commands Peter to follow him into this future.
What about John?
This is a grim prophecy to receive under any condition, and Peter received it in his mind and immediately turned toward John, the disciple, and said, “Well what about him?”
Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” (21:22) Peter just got notice that the end of his life was going to be tragic, and so he was looking for some company in his misery. Instead Jesus tells him, “I might just let John live forever, that’s none of your business. Your job is to follow me.” If I could tie it back to the beginning of this, Peter is going to run out screaming, and John is just going to get a nice relaxing steambath.
Life doesn’t seem fair when you compare
Just like we can be guilty of comparing spots in the steambath and begin to think everyone else has it easier than us, we can compare ourselves with the people around us and begin to feel like God is making life harder for us than he is for them. One time I made the mistake of looking up how much teachers in Fairbanks make. Up until then I really felt like a bigshot. The LKSD pays its teachers very well, at least until I found out teachers in the land of cheap food, low-priced gas, and unlimited firewood make exactly the same as me. Suddenly I began to think maybe I’m not getting paid as well as I thought I was. But God did not call me to Fairbanks. If he did, I would be there. God called me to Bethel, Alaska.
God’s #1 priority is not our comfort
God’s number one desire for us is not our happiness, it is not our comfort, it is not to be wealthy, it is not to be world record holders. God’s number one desire for us is that we be saved. And often times in order to come to the place of repentance, it is necessary for God to allow us to be humbled. I can get caught up with comparing myself with the Donald Trumps of the world and begin to ask God, why have you put me in this place, when really I should be comparing myself with Christ on the cross at Calvary. He did not allow himself to be brutalized and humiliated before men so that I could have an easy life. He did not fight for every breath of air on the cross so that I could be a millionaire. They did not pull the beard out of his face so that I could always smile and never cry. Christ went to Calvary so that we could be saved. Although he promises us the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the comforter (Acts 2:38, John 14:16), he also promises us hard times, trials, and persecutions (John 15:18-21). So next time you are in the qasgiq and it looks like you’ve got it hotter than everyone else, remember that God has not called us into an easy life, he has called us into a saved life.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.