It is strange to think about, but there has never been a day in my life when I did not have some knowledge of God. People, I was going to church as an unborn baby in my mom’s womb. Like the typical Southern Baptist kid, I went to more VBSes than I went to birthday parties. I could tell you all about David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, and Samson before I could read a word. I could recite my books of the Bible to you by kindergarten. I think you get the point.
Although I have struggled with not having a spectacularly life-changing Saul-to-Paul conversion story, I really am grateful that I was raised this way. Knowing more about Jesus than about Elmo or Teletubbies led to me having a rough time when I started truly understanding the weight of the Gospel. My condition was only worsened by my rule-following personality. Eventually, I came to the point that I realized my faith had to be my own and no one else could get me into Heaven, no matter how bad they wanted to. I found Jesus for myself. Although it has not necessarily been the most smooth ride, I would not trade it for all the happiness the world has to offer.
Whether you believe it or not, sometimes I get incredibly weary. I have not been in a place where I have consciously decided “I am done following Jesus”, but I sure have gone off the path a few times. There have been days when I have wholeheartedly pursued my wants, my desires, the things that make me happy. Then, I find myself feeling very far from Jesus not having any idea how I got there. Once I start getting reacquainted with Christ, He shows me where I went wrong. Through the hurt due to a loss of worldly things, Jesus continues to remind me everything but Him is temporary. Nothing else is worth holding on to. There have also been days that I do not feel like trusting God. I instead decide to take things into my own hands. Friends, I will take control of anything I notice I could possibly control. There are days when I do not want to pray for God’s best, even though I know God’s best is the best. I am a broken vessel, constantly obtaining more cracks.
Following Jesus is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I was created to do hard things. If it was not such a challenge, everyone would be doing it. God loves all creation, but only those who commit their lives to His purposes will inherit eternal life. Therefore, it is not an easy ride. Today, as in this 24-hour period, I am in a place of waiting on God and trusting Him to come through for me. I am in a place where my power just is not enough. I NEED God. It is so hard and so beautiful.
You might ask “if it is so hard, why in the world do you do it?”. Well, as I stated earlier, there is no way I can do life alone. No matter how great the challenge, I would rather be in touch with God and live the hard daily than go through the wonderful times without Him. If you truly felt the love and presence of God, you would have trouble leaving as well.
Following Jesus is HARD. Sometimes I get exhausted. Jesus explicitly told us life would be hard:
In this world you will have trouble.
(John 16:33) However, following Jesus’s assurance, there is a very big yet very small word
BUT take heart! I have overcome the world.
There is no one I would rather rely on than the one who has overcome the world. That is not all! Jesus promises that He will always be there for us.
surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
He is one to cling to, no doubt about it.