I once had a Lesbian friend. After she finally worked up the courage to tell me she was "different", we talked about her struggles to prove to herself that she was straight. You know - "normal."
Part of our subsequent discussions were about why she was a Lesbian. She grew frustrated as she told me of the affairs she had had with men, of the rejection she felt from her family, of her fear her secret would be discovered and she would be fired. (We both worked for a government training center at the time - and she would have been fired.) She decried the fact she could never have kids and a normal family like most people. Her life was filled with angst, and the occassional party to help soothe the pain. Finally, lashing out at the notion that some people think being a Lesbian is a chosen lifestyle, she asked "Why in the hell would anybody intentionally pick this lifestyle?"
Years later, I applied the same rationale to being a Christian. Why would any sane person choose this life? The rest of the world thinks we're nuts. We have to be careful where we practice our faith - creating a prayer group at work is a great way to get in trouble. Like gays and lesbians, Christians tend to gather together in self-protective groups so we don't have to confront the great mass of "normal" people.
I am struck by the many references to peace throughout the New Testamement - - yet I am struck too by Jesus' quote in Matthew 10 - "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."
Now I just happen to understand what all the "peace" talk is about. Most of the time I am very much at peace with the grace given me, along with gifts of friendship, courage, spouse, and children. For me, most of my life is full of peace. My lesbian friend is a Christian too (or at least as much a Christian as local culture and churches would let her be a Christian), but she does not have a lot of peace.
As I write this, there are people in Viet Nam working with the people to train them in Christian education and evangelizing. For the Christians of Viet Nam, particularly the indigenous people, there is not much peace.
Why would anyone chose to be a Christian? It can be a hard life indeed.