Following Jesus is the simplest thing we can do, but it's not easy and I begin to wonder when someone tells me otherwise. For some, their journey appears to be smooth and effortless, some get diverted and opt for the status quo, but others find at times they are treading a hard rocky path. I fit more readily into the latter category, so it's no surprise that I feel for such people and often write with them in mind.
Dealing with events or situations that God has allowed to help us grow and move us on, can be a blood-sweat-and-tears struggle. So it's helpful to share with others something of our walk, including the difficulties and vulnerabilities we experience along the way. I have found when someone has dared to be real like this, it's like a breath of fresh air. There's a connecting and identifying and a realisation that humanly ‘I'm not alone in this’ or 'I'm not abnormal!' This is why I try to write honestly and personally, but at the same time looking to Jesus.
I can look back rejoicing that God has always brought me through the trials, often in amazing ways. At the time I felt the devastation, helplessness and desperation, but giving up was never an option, it was unthinkable. It was God who did it, but now and again He used others to encourage just when needed. Then there were the others -.
At a time when I had been diagnosed with a chronic illness and my world seemed to be falling apart, I met someone with a terminal illness. He said that as soon as he was told he immediately surrendered it all to God and that was it. I was impressed, but it didn't help me. I needed to hear something of the process he went through to get to that point. Another Christian slapped me on the back and said, ‘count it all joy’ brother. Biblical truth, but there was no ‘connecting’ or identifying and it left me thinking that he couldn't cope with the situation and had to keep his distance.
I heard a ‘testimony’ from someone going through divorce proceedings, who announced that he had the victory in it, God was in control and he was at peace. His quivering lips showed me that was his hope, but it wasn't yet true in his experience. It would have been more helpful - and he would have carried more listeners with him - if he had dared take the risk to say where he was really at. It’s not a lack of faith to admit our weakness.
I'm still learning.
"Blessed are they who know their need of God, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3 (my paraphrase)