C.S. Lewis famously said, “it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak…we are far too easily pleased.” It was around this time last year that one of my nieces had a birthday party at one of those venues that hosts children’s birthday parties. Their specialty was bounce houses. They had an enormous room filled with inflatable bounce houses; giant slides, obstacle courses, and more bounce houses. It’s every little kids’ dream! However, before the kids were allowed to enter the room, they had to watch a short introductory video on proper behavior and safety issues. All of the children sat in rapt attention watching this video of kids having the time of their lives running and bouncing and playing with one another. As the video drew to an end you could feel the excitement in the air as all of the kids realized that their time to play had finally arrived. When the video ended, the doors opened, and all of the kids ran into the room for their chance to play.
However, as I watched this scene unfold one little boy, my then one and a half year old son, had no idea what was happening. Instead of jumping up and running, he sat in his spot sobbing uncontrollably. He was having so much fun watching the video with so many of his friends and cousins sitting around him. The kids on the TV having so much fun fully enamored him. He never connected the reality that the whole video experience was preparation for him getting to go and play in that very room where all of the other boys and girls were having so much fun. I had to pick him up and carry him into the room so he could finally take part in the fun.
The whole scene, which happened in the space of mere minutes, is such a picture of what our lives are often like. We are far too easily pleased with what the world has to offer that we never consider there could be a greater reality, a greater enjoyment, greater pleasures at God’s right hand. Jesus commanded his followers to take up their cross and follow Him. Sometimes, oftentimes, he calls us to sacrifice the very things that bring so much joy and pleasure. The sacrifice often feels like a certain kind of death, which is why our Lord said, ‘take up your cross.’ However, as we grow in our union with Christ, we find that our Lord makes amends for these losses. It’s why he told Peter in Matthew 19:29, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or fathers or mothers or children or lands for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” I have no doubt that some are called to carry bigger crosses than others. I also believe there are seasons in our lives where the cross we hoist is heavier than at other times. If only the duration were minutes and not years. How does one endure such cross bearing? One way is by realizing the truth of the apostle Paul’s words, “This light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, the things that are unseen are eternal.” Don’t be so easily pleased that you miss the truth of these words for the sake of temporary relief.