If you are reading this post, i would like to believe you have asked this question sometime in your life. There are many reasons why this question is usually asked. However for this post, i would like to focus on the spiritual side.
The truth about our faith is that it isn’t a sweet sweet journey. Inasmuch as we like to pray ourselves out of everything, cast out everything that causes the littlest discomfort, claim every good thing in this world by faith and search for bible scriptures to back these up, it just doesn’t work that way.
If we claim that Jesus Christ is our perfect example and we are His followers, why then do we filter the things we want from His life. We want the kind of power He has without the pain He went through on the cross. We want to work in the same authority that the apostles had, without the trials and pain they endured. We want the crown but we genuinely don’t want the cross.
Now i understand that there are different kinds of afflictions. There are some that comes as a result of our human errors. I am not referring to those.
I sometimes struggle when engaging with other believers with conversations like this because i am often interrupted with words like “God has given us the victory”, which of course is true. However the victory isn’t always about God not allowing us to be thrown into the burning furnace. The victory can also be about God showing up with us in the burning furnace. I know this isn’t really the most exciting post but we all need to be reminded that the cross isn’t glittering in gold. It doesn’t come in form of a Rolls Royce, mansion, large congregation, neither does it come in the way success is often defined by the world.
Jesus Christ was introduced to the world by a star, but hours before his birth it was a struggle to find where to birth Him. He rod on a horse as worship rained on Him during the triumphant entrance to Jerusalem. However the same crowd shouted “crucify Him” few days later. The same Jesus who was listened to by all His disciples, had no one to support Him when He was facing death. The same Jesus who attracted crowd also experienced rejection by men. So why do we think we can enjoy the glorious glory without going through the painful story. Why do we think we can take a short cut to this? Why aren’t we comfortable anymore to talk about suffering for Christ’s sake.
I remember months ago, i was having a pity party for myself as i was asking God the “why me” question. And then i asked myself “why not me?” Why should the pain i am going through be given to someone else? Why should my cross be assigned to someone else? I feel the idea that Jesus Christ died so we do not suffer is often misinterpreted. Jesus Christ didn’t die for us to be cross free.
“Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
“Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your tiniest flimsiest stick daily, and follow me.”
Unfortunately we interpret the first bible verse like the second made up version. The cross is heavy, very uncomfortable to carry, causes the kind of attention you won’t like, tiring, will make you sweat, will give you bruises and will be unbearable sometimes.
You can’t just stroll into paradise after walking through earth with your tiny little stick and expect to have the kind of mansion Paul has🤷🏽♀️.
“Ermmm God’s will isn’t for us to suffer”. “His thoughts for us are of good and not of evil”. But wait a minute, it was His will for Jesus to die, He allowed Job to be attacked, He allowed the thorn on Paul’s flesh, He allowed the disciples to die the way they did, He allowed the 3 Hebrew guys to be thrown into the burning furnace, He allowed Daniel to be thrown into the lions den, He allowed Mary to experience the pain of watching her son killed, He allowed an innocent Joseph to be thrown into prison, just to name a few. All of these He could have prevented from happening but He didn’t.
Ouch Efua this post is too harsh! That is my point. When a child is born, the child feeds on milk. However from the age of 6 months onward, paediatricians tell us that milk alone isn’t sufficient for that child to grow healthy. I feel we are breeding a generation of malnourished christians because we claim everything by faith and want to pray ourselves out of every pain we encounter. “God help me drink from this bitter cup” is no longer an ok prayer. If you raise a prayer point like this, people might not even pray because we want “God take this cup away” kind of prayer point. Friends, He isn’t going to take every bitter cup away. If He does, you won’t be able to grow as a child of His.
Many have been sold the easy breezy gospel hence they fall apart when trials come. Many are walking about like 40 years old with pacifiers in their mouth.
Believe it or not, not all of our prayers will be answered before we leave this earth. I would like to think that the church was praying for the deliverance of the martyrs in the bible but still they died the way they did.
Does this mean that we should just accept everything that the devil throws at us and not understand our heritage in Christ? No. My point is to affirm the fact that we need to be prepared to go through trials, pain and tribulations in this journey. Our response to these is what will prove our love for our Saviour.
If we want to impact this world the way the apostles did, we also have to be willing to have the same mindset they did; serve despite the pain. No pain, no gain.
I would encourage you to read a blog post by God’s warrior titled Are You Willing to Suffer for Christ? It gives a lot of great insight into this topic.
As great as Paul was, He had a thorn in his flesh that wasn’t taken away. Let’s leave this comfortable kind of christian life that we are beginning to believe and understand what true followership means.
I am talking to myself too as i write this. It’s a lot to take but it’s about time we got things right. I know it isn’t easy. Trust me I have trials currently that I prayed God take away immediately as far back as 4 years ago. However I have learnt in this process that there is no need for grace if there is no trials. The bible won’t encourage us to endure if there won’t be a need for it.
The best way to pray is like Jesus “not my will but Yours be done.”
I would like to end this blog with my last sentence on my comment in God’s warrior’s post. When you go into a battle well informed and prepared, you are more likely to win.
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.