Yeah it’s been a while. I know. But here I am back at the computer after a self-imposed hiatus. Or maybe it was divinely imposed. I’m not really sure.
I’m sitting here, because I’ve been reading a kick butt book that is worth the time to read it. The thing is I can’t seem to get it finished because Barnabas Piper keeps writing things that make me stop and have to think about what he’s said. Help My Unbelief has shaken my already shaky foundation of what true belief is.
Today as I was reading at the pool, while the boys had their swimming lessons, Piper was talking about how we all have stories but each are different. The how and why we came to believe is unique to each of us but the common thread in all our stories is HIM. We all know this but for whatever reason, the truth of that statement became truth in my heart today not just my mind. (Another thing Piper talks about in the book.)
As I thought about my ongoing story and other people’s stories, I realized that none of these tales of lives lived, some well and some not so much, are easy. That Jesus, contrary to popular belief, is not the easy answer so many people like to think He is. Many people say they don’t follow Jesus because He’s a crutch for weaker individuals. I beg to differ. If you’ve ever tried to do the right thing when everyone around you is telling you the opposite thing, it becomes clear that Jesus ain’t no crutch. Steal the money. Lie your way out. Take another look. Revenge is sweet. Small things really. They seem easy. It’s not like murder or adultery. Try again. It’s the small things that trip you up and lead you down the path to the biggies.
Living a life that is surrendered to Him is not the easy answer. Letting go of what you want to do and then acting on behalf of God takes a lot of effort. It’s not always fun either.
For one thing it will cost you. Big time. I recently heard a speaker at a conference express great passion that “risking for Jesus” was worth it. Everyone was nodding their heads yes. I was shaking my head no. It’s not that I’m saying we shouldn’t risk our lives for Jesus. It’s just that some days risking it all for Jesus does not seem worth it. It leads to pain. It leads to suffering. It leads to questions there may not be answers to. (Piper says that’s okay because God is an infinite God and we are finite so we can’t ever know or understand everything. I had to think about this for a bit.) Some days it really hurts to risk – to risk a move across the country, to risk a job, to risk a relationship, to risk a dream – for God. Because in the real Christian life, there is no guarantee it will work out.
God never guaranteed that. He did guarantee eternal life for those who choose to believe and follow Him. He guaranteed that He would never leave us or forsake us. No matter what. He did not guarantee the world’s version of success.
Jesus is not the easy answer when you choose gratitude and grace over a negative attitude or revenge. Try being truly grateful when all you really want to do is to whine and complain and maybe sucker punch someone. 🙂 (Wait. Pastor’s wives don’t really do that kind of thing, right?) Maybe it’s just me, but choosing grace and thankfulness is not easy. Choosing Jesus over negativity and complaints is very difficult.
Jesus is not the easy answer when you choose to be brave. Because chances are, you’re facing down some big giants. David chose God over Goliath. He chose to go up against someone who hated God because David believed God was bigger than any Philistine. God deserved the glory due Him. David decided that fighting the giant was worth it. Choosing Jesus means you’re not walking away from life or it’s hardships and wounds. It means you’re going to deal with them, at some point or another. The Jesus I know, is not one who deals in fantasy. He deals in truth. He wants you to know the truth of your life and the truth of Himself as well.
Choosing Jesus means you’re going to get to know Him. Because honestly, He died for you so he’s not going to let you walk away, especially when all you want to do is run in the opposite direction.
He’s going to keep coming after you. It may be beautiful. It may be messy. It will be scary. Because you are going to meet the God of heaven and earth in a very personal way. It’s the reason we were all created. It should be scary in a very awesome sort of way.
Finally back to the idea that sometimes there is no answer for what is going on in the world and in our lives. At least not an answer we will know now. Why that diagnosis? Why that world disaster? Why that trauma? Why that loss? In these circumstances Jesus is the only answer we have. It’s not an easy answer. Not when we want closure or disclosure. Instead it’s an answer…just maybe not to the question we’re asking, which isn’t easy. It means we have to trust that He will be enough and that He’s got the answer which He’s choosing not to tell us right now. For those in that position, it is incredibly hard. It may shake your very foundations. And that’s okay. I believe our God can handle any questions, doubts or anger we may have.
People who live out that Jesus is not the easy answer at times, make me stop. They make me want to weep and inspire me forward at the same time. Because these people are living, breathing examples of people who believe. It’s not just lip service. They may not have it all together and their belief may have some doubts, but they hang on to Jesus because He is the only answer they are willing to bet on.
I really recommend picking up a copy of Piper’s Book. Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt Is Not The Enemy of Faith by Barnabas Piper, 2015