“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and followme.” Luke 9:23
“Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’”Luke 9:58
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” Luke 14:33
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Where in these passages does it say that if I follow Christ, obey His commands, follow Him and His will, I will live happily ever after?
Right. It doesn’t. In fact, these passages indicate quite the opposite.
Yet, I have led myself to believe that is the case. I had decided that since we obediently uprooted our lives, rented out our safe, suburban home, and moved across country to the “hood”, we were destined to live “happily ever after”. And, when the opposite occurred, I emotionally crashed.
The truth is, I suspect many of us secretly subscribe to this thinking. I have come to think of it as an “undercover” prosperity gospel. No. We don’t voice the belief that God wants to only bless you with good health, great wealth and easy living, but we live like it.
I’ve thought things like “This move to California is out of obedience, so things will just fall in line…” I was told things like, “God will bless your obedience. He will open doors in response.” Well meaning. A bit of truth. He has blessed our obedience, but those blessings were not things “falling in line” how I wanted them to.
Quite the contrary, nothing has manifested itself in the way I desired, planned or expected. There has been one challenge after another. And, my natural tendency has been to question if God has really called us here. Surely obedience would not be met with hardship and instability. Surely hardship means we are on the wrong path. But… maybe not.
David, after being anointed king, spent years on the run from his current king, Saul. Yet, his challenges did not change his calling.
Joseph had dreams that he would one day be in authority over his family years before he became the 2nd in command Egypt. Those years were filled with betrayal, false accusations, abandonment, slavery and false imprisonment. Yet, these things did not change his calling.
Christ is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Alpha and Omega, yet he walked earth as the Son of Man, and was ridiculed, betrayed, denied, abandoned, beaten and killed. These challenges wereHis calling.
As much as I admittedly loathe the challenges we face, as much as I cry out like David “How long?” and “Why have you forsaken me?” As much as I want to call out like Christ “Take this cup away from me”. I am comforted in knowing that we are not alone. There are challenges associated with the call. So I hold onto God’s truth. “And, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
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