“‘You don’t know what you are asking’, Jesus said to them, ‘Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?'” Matthew 20: 22, NIV
I follow a television personality on Twitter. One day, this personality tweeted a question for her followers – “What would you ask God if you could ask Him anything?” She re-tweeted responses that ranged from poignant to humorous. There was one response from a follower that made me think. This follower wanted to know why he or she had experienced so many trials since becoming a follower of Christ.
Many people erroneously think devoting one’s life to Christ means having a life free from troubles. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus prepared the disciples for their futures by telling them the following, “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master” (Matthew 10:24). Christ experienced many hardships during His time on earth. He was persecuted (Matthew 2: 13-14; Matthew 12). He experienced people doubting Who He is (Matthew 13: 55-57, John 1: 46). He faced temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). People deserted Him (John 6: 60-66). His family ridiculed Him (John 7: 1-9). He was betrayed (Matthew 26: 47-50). He faced dread (Luke 22: 42-44) and pain (Matthew 26: 67-68; John 19:1; 17-18). He even, briefly, felt abandoned by God (Mark 15:34).
No, following Jesus doesn’t automatically give us permanent residence on Easy Street. Following Jesus gives us the strength to persevere during our trials by His example. Despite His hardships, Jesus forgave (Luke 23:24; John 8). He loved (John 15: 9-17). He rejoiced (Luke 10:21). He had compassion (John 11:35). He stood firm in truth (Matthew 27:11-14; John 18:37). He was courageous (Luke 1:37-53). He helped others (Matthew 14:34-36). He completed His mission (John 19:30).
Following Jesus is a commitment that includes a change in thought and lifestyle. We should grow from desiring worldly pleasures to desiring to do God’s will. As Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6: 24). So, when you question why, as a Christian, you are experiencing trials and hardships, remember the full life of the One we follow, not just His gifts.
God Bless you today and always.