Follow. Here’s the interesting thing about that word, when you follow someone you end up going where they go.
So, what should I expect my life to be like if I follow Jesus?
As I read the Gospels carefully, I see a man who was faithful, loyal, loving, passionate, compassionate, humorous, serious, and wise. People loved Him, they listened to Him, they believed Him, and they followed Him. I also see a man who suffered, wept, was betrayed by close friends, let down by followers, bled and died. Jesus was a homeless man who was misunderstood, said “crazy” things, and was publicly executed by the state as a criminal. The remarkable thing about Jesus was not that He did not get into trouble, it’s that He remained faithful through it.
This morning I woke up to some disturbing text messages. Two of my close friends were blindsided by some really bad news. One of them was told by their spouse that they wanted a divorce. Their life as they knew it was over. Another was told by their doctor that they needed emergency surgery to repair a previous surgery. The next several weeks were going to be spent in misery. Where is God in this? They are both followers of Jesus, so why is this happening? What’s the point in following Jesus if bad things are going to happen to us anyway?
Following Jesus is not a detour around suffering. It is a path straight through it. We need to learn how to follow Jesus and continue walking faithfully through the path that will lead us to the moment of our death. If we follow Jesus into death, then we will be able to follow Him in life. It is by dying to ourselves daily that we learn how to actually live our lives. Eventually, we will come to the day of our death. Our life of faith needs to be in preparation for that moment. If we die with Christ, then we will also be raised to life with Him.
So when trouble happens, we don’t need to lose hope. We need to learn how to walk in faithfulness. Remember who we are following.
Psalm 34:15, 17-19
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.