In the short term, the cigarette smoker cannot bear to quit because the pain of withdrawal and detox from cigarettes is just too high to bear. Similarly, the cravings that a person might feel who’s overweight and needs to be dieting, which eventually turn into physical withdrawals from things like fat, sugar, and carbohydrates, bring on an intense amount of pain in the short term.
The powerful passage of Hebrews 11 highlights people of great faith and blessing, but also tells us that many believers were tortured, mocked, scourged, imprisoned, stoned, sawn in two, destitute, mistreated and homeless. The writer says the world was not worthy of these saints. They were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised. Does that sound like abundant life? Is that prosperity? And yet, we find that these struggling people spoke of a deep-seeded joy.
It’s quite clear that success has nothing to do with our initial set of circumstances. Some of the most poor and disadvantaged people in the world have achieved the greatest successes of all time. Oprah Winfrey was born to a single mother on welfare and was physically and sexually abused as a child. J.K. Rowling was divorced, had a daughter, and was living on government assistance before publishing the first book in the Harry Potter series.