Pain is Just a Part of It--A Lesson in Discipleship

a mothers love for her adult kids begging in prayer can i trust god christian no more deconstructing faith deconversion faith family estrangement god's got this how to pray for people in pain mothers praying for the lost where is god when it hurts woke Jul 26, 2022

The following is an excerpt from my book, Taking Responsibility for the Choices We Make.  When you read the print in BLUE that is real time--for the blog post, and when you read the print in BLACK that is straight from the book. Might be ironic that the colors I chose are BLACK and BLUE! :) 

There were several times that Jesus' miracles attracted a crowd, and when those crowds grew large, Jesus seized the opportunity to tell them just how difficult life might be if they chose to follow Him.

Wait, just a minute. I am reading my own words, printed in beautiful book published by DaySpring and I need to take a deep breath. You came here to read a blog post dealing with pain...and here we are. You're hurting and I'm remembering that Jesus warned us that following Him wasn't going to be easy.

I don't like it, I think we often miss it, but we're about to face the facts: Jesus warned us that pain is just a part of it.

Let's dive back in.

Consider our call to follow: "Whoever wants to be my disciple, must deny themselves, take up their crosses daily and follow Me" (Luke 9:23).

It would have been one thing had Jesus been speaking figuratively to His disciples, but not long after making this statement, He denied Himself, took up His (literal) cross, and followed His Father through what looked like madness but was rather the fulfillment of the most incredible plan ever.

Can you imagine what is might have been like to be one of Jesus' followers on the day of His crucifixion? Their hopes and dreams hung dying on that cross. There was nothing they could do to stop Him. They couldn't intervene when the soldiers came to arrest Him. Peter tried, and Jesus rebuked him as He replaced Malchus' ear. The men who'd given up their preconceived notions and dedicated themselves to realign their thinking to Jesus' teaching stood silent as Christ died. He told them that His death and resurrection were all a part of His Father's plan, but they had no context for understanding Him when He said that to them. Even when Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, and He said, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25). His disciples didn't understand. Would you have understood if you were them?

Perhaps you are stuck where you are because you don't understand. God has assured you that this terrible awful thing can be woven into the fabric of "all things working together for good" (Romans 8:28), but this--this--can't possibly be woven into anything.

I would imagine Jesus' disciples felt the same way you feel when they stood in the shadow of the cross. Sometimes the space between Good Friday and Easter morning is incredibly long. The minutes that tick tock away between the horrible, no-good, very bad thing that happened to you and God's redemption of if may last a lifetime. So if you are living for Resurrection morning when the ache of Friday's crucifixion is finally redeemed, and if it's going to take a very long time for you to get there, you may miss the rest of your days on earth and leave your purpose unfulfilled. You can't just hold your breath and live for the day when your wrong is made right.

OUCH! Did I really say that?! 

"Don't tell me that!" you might want to shout at me.

I know, it's awful! (Well, see there, I knew it was hard to read what I'd just written.) And many times, we do get to live to see God's better idea play out in our lives. He's always doing "exceedingly abundantly more than you can ask or imagine" and thank goodness we get to experience much of that activity. In fact, most of the time, we get to experience, "Oh, now I get it!" Just like the disciples got to experience God's miraculous plan of the ages when they interacted with Jesus resurrected from the dead. 

But every once in a while, we might bump up into something (or even more than one something) that isn't reconciled with our understanding of the goodness of God until we see Him face-to-face on the other side. And when this happens, we need to seek to understand God when He tells us what He's up to.

Jesus told His disciples the truth. You can read His detailed explanation in Matthew 20:17-19. 

He will do the same thing with us today. But if we are so focused on what we think He must do; or so grieving over what He's not doing, we might never hear what He's saying to us. If you want to survive your long Saturdays (that space that takes time between the agony of Good Friday and the victory of Resurrection Sunday), you must learn how to make your thoughts bow down to the lordship of Christ.

You can read these next 3 steps in detail in my book Taking Responsibility for the Choices We Make

1. Receive the truth when Jesus shares it with you. 

God will give you a word if you ask Him. He will give you Scripture promises that tell you what He's up to and where you're headed. The hard part is receiving the truth He delivers. If God's told you this is all going to work out in the end, it's all going to work out in the end.

 2. Let it be known that you are not capable of knowing all there is to know.

Consider this question: Could it be that because you've never experienced anything like this before, you don't know all there is to know about it? Much of our despair is created by our own vain imagination. We use our limited understanding to predict outcomes and cast judgment on people and circumstances. But we don't really know what all is going on! 

God does.

3. Prepare to experience God like you've never experienced Him before.

When Jesus' disciples stood at the cross, their world shattered. Their Teacher, their Counselor, Savior and Lord hung seemingly helpless and dying.Their dreams were shattered and hope was gone...But they were about to experience God like they had never experienced Him before. Out of all the miracles they'd been witnesses to this was going to be the greatest one of all! 

After Jesus conquered the grave, the disciples knew that every word that came out of Jesus' mouth was true and that no matter how much the enemy seemed to have the upper hand, God would always be a step ahead. 

You will know this too when you allow God to make sense of the madness in your own life. The day will come when you exclaim to yourself, "Why did I ever doubt Him?" 

Get your copy of Taking Responsibility for the Choices We Make HERE! 



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