Life. Sometimes it’s grand while other occasions, so very hard. I was talking with my daughter one day about an individual who was going through a tough situation. I simply asserted this person needs Jesus. No sooner had I echoed this response, my daughter replied, “We all need Him.”
There is not one minute nor second of the day that we don’t need the Lord. We need His guidance for times of uncertainty, His reflections of love toward those who have wounded us, and His grace to keep us moving forward in times of great distress.
As of late, I have come to a place in my life of understanding better the call to follow Jesus. What does this entail? Jesus said it best in the following passage: And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. Luke 9:23
In this Scripture, we note three important commands: Deny self, take up one’s cross daily, and follow Jesus. Recently, the Lord has used a very effective tool to aide me in this process: one that has brought about a great brokenness. The instrument? Rejection from people I have loved.
Over the past several years, the Lord has carried me through various periods of rejection and abandonment from friendships I valued deeply. At first, it was extremely painful. I tried in every way to hang on to certain acquaintances. However, little by little, God began peeling back my fingers from unhealthy grasps. Yet even though such moments produced great distress, they were with certainty used for my growth in Christ, and imperative to the new beginning He had awaiting.
However, just when I thought I was past those crucial periods, other rebuffs begin to emerge, ones I never saw coming.
Here lately, I have experienced another season of people’s dismissals. Individuals whom I have both loved and respected have walked away. I would be lying if I did not convey how painful it has been. Yet I would be misled to think I will ever carry a cross that is completely void of suffering.
I have recently had to remind myself that to be completely surrendered to God and His will, is to fully abandon every area of myself to His care. Whatever He deems necessary to entrust to my path, I must embrace fully, with an unwavering trust in His character, in His wisdom and in His plan. This means that whatever tool He chooses to use, in order to bring His perfect will to completion, I must accept.
Jesus told us we would face difficult times. He was straight forward and honest of all that awaited those who followed Him.
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:5 NASB
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps. 1 Peter 2:21
We will be persecuted. We will be rejected. We will have others try to hurt us. We will be made fun of and even despised. And let me tell you this with certainty, it will not always be from lost people. It will be from brothers and sisters in Christ, within the communities where we live, churches where we serve, and places of employment where we work. It will be from both family members and close friends. Yet even amid our pain, the Lord has promised to never leave us. Therefore, as a dear person once stated, “Suffer well” under His mighty hand.
Just this week, after being hit by yet another severance, I began to ponder the following questions:
Am I living my life for others, or for Jesus?Tweet
Am I going to bear up under the trial, learning what Jesus wants to teach me, or jump ship and run?
Would I be okay, if only Jesus loved me and believed in me?
Would I be okay if my character was falsely attacked, tempting individuals to believe the worst, while turning their backs?
Will I continue to pick up my cross, even if I’m abandoned by everyone dear to me?
Am I willing to follow Him no matter the cost? Are you?
Are we willing to work at a place He has called us to, even though there are people there who do not like us?Tweet
Are we willing to follow Him and keep moving forward, even though the battle we are facing is fierce with haters?
Will we continue to love Him and serve Him even if He strips everything from our lives, as He did Job’s life?
Moses told the children of Israel to move forward, yet there was the Red Sea in front of them and enemies coming up behind them. Joshua continued to encourage the Israelites of their Promised Land, even though giants awaited them. John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of the Messiah faithfully yet found himself sitting in a prison cell. Stephen spoke boldly of the Savior yet was stoned to his death. Paul dedicated his life to following Jesus, yet was beaten, lied about and persecuted. What did these men all have in common? They understood that life was about Jesus, not themselves, nor their comfort. They lived with an eternal perspective. They saw the greater purpose and lived to die for it.
Whatever tool God is using in you, in order to be able to accomplish a greater work through you, let it have its perfect work. Keep moving forward, don’t retreat. He’s making something beautiful of your life.
Let God use whatever God desires to use–in order for God to do–what God desires to do–in and through your life.Tweet
Written by, O’Shea