As we settled in for Sunday's sermon, the pastor confessed that he had left out the last 8 verses of the Gospel lesson found in Matthew 10 because he wanted to focus on the positive part of the passage and not the difficult. He focused on the verses that tell us that even the hairs on our heads our numbered and that not one sparrow falls to the ground without God knowing ~ and are we not of more value than a sparrow? Comforting words, right?
The verses he avoided at the end of the chapter speak of following Jesus at all cost:
“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it"
As Joel's mom would say, 'Uffda" (kind of like, good grief! )
This past Saturday, not for the first time, I was talking to God about the path Joel and I are following. I found myself bargaining and pleading with Him because, well, when we said yes to this adventure in Holy Spirit and God-wants-you-well healing, we made a far turn to the right away from the beliefs of most family and friends. Uffda.
Following where Jesus leads can be difficult. Sometimes being a little to the right of crazy is a hard place to be. Some people would say it has been our choice, but it is where God has called us and in obedience we have said yes, even though at times I feel stretched tight between what was and what is. But then I remember the past when we were housebound with a disease that robbed us of life. And where we are now--enjoying a full life~~ and I can't go back.
Maybe we were naïve in thinking others would embrace for themselves our adventures with Holy Spirit and God's healing power. I know I never expected to be where we are now. I love it, but I also understand it has a cost. That is where the bargaining came in last Saturday. At times the cost seems too much, until I look at Jesus on the tree. And I see the real cost of obedience. His shed blood for me, for you.
God's response to Saturday's pleading came in Sunday's sermon. Follow Him. And reading those verses a second time I see that Jesus gives us a promise in these verses....when we give up our life, we will find it. It. Life abundantly. Eternal life. It may look differently for each one of us, this giving up our life. The life of surrender. It is according to God's plan and purpose and our hunger for more. Not always easy, not always clear, but always good because God is good.......and patient....even when one of His children resorts to bargaining. Uffda!