I told my husband recently that Jesus was becoming a harder sell the longer I live. Because sometimes that’s what Christian writing and speaking feels like, it feels like being a traveling salesman with a really good product that you have to convince other people to buy. I know this isn’t true but sometimes I sit down pen in hand (or computer in lap) or stand on a stage with lots of eyes staring me down and it feels like someone says “lets see what you got.” It’s not God’s voice, it’s just the tiny insecure voice in my head that knows the longer these girls live and the more life they are exposed to the more pain they will experience. Its the voice that knows that we really like feeling good but real life rarely feels good. I think it’s safe to say most of us want a way to avoid pain, however, I don’t think that’s what Jesus is offering. I don’t think Christianity is our get out of jail free card, I think making good choices will ultimately lead to a better life but living for Jesus always has sacrifice involved and I’d venture to say if your faith doesn’t cost you just a little bit you might want to reassess (but what do I know… I can’t convince my two year old that pooping in her pants isn’t the best option).
The longer I am on this walk down the road called life the more I am confronted with the lie of “if God is good then why……” (fill in the blank) and if we aren’t careful life will squeeze the belief right out of us. If we don’t walk into Christianity believing the only good we are ever guaranteed in this life is a cross with our name on it then we might come out disappointed. I really believe God does give good gifts but I also believe that life has pain and hurt that is unavoidable. I believe God triumphs over evil but that doesn’t mean there isn’t evil. I believe God offers complete peace in the midst of life’s greatest storms but I don’t believe he takes away all the storms. I believe pain is part of the equation but I also believe that the hope God offers is the only way to make it through the pain.
So Jesus can be a hard sell because we like guarantees and back up plans and some kind of assurance. To which Jesus replies “take up your cross and follow me…..” (luke 9:23) into the great unknown. Follow me when you have no assurance that tomorrow will be better. Follow me when you have no guarantee that the diagnosis will be good, your husband will stick around, or your money will sustain you. Follow me when you have no assurance of anything but a sinless man on a rugged cross. Follow me when your soul cries out “more” and I whisper, “it is well.” Follow me not because of what is guaranteed but because of what has already been done. Follow me because the only triumph over evil, pain, and loss is the hope that I will make all things new.
See here is the real beautiful thing about God, his goodness isn’t altered by humanities brokenness. He has already proven himself good when he bridged the gap and made a way for us to have eternal life (Romans 3:24). He has already proven his goodness by giving us grace and mercy and those are two guarantees we could have never earned.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.