Thursday, February 12, 2015

Counting the Cost

I journal. I have kept a journal more or less faithfully since I was 11. My early entries often make me laugh or groan at my adolescent foolishness, and leave me thanking God that He loves me too much to leave me the way I am! But honestly, my journals are a magnificent blessing in my life, as I look back and see God's amazing faithfulness through many mountains and valleys, and I'm reminded of so many lessons He's taught me. I was reading through some journal entries from just over a year ago, and this one in particular stood out. It's something I wrote towards the end of my visit with Vicky in the Philippines, and because it fit with some other things I've been praying about today, I thought I'd share it here....

"Vicky and I were talking about suffering over breakfast. On multiple occasions Jesus spoke openly about His upcoming death to His disciples, but they didn't get it, and when it happened, they totally fell apart. Jesus has spoken equally clearly to us, and told us over and over that we will meet hardship and trials. We know it in our heads, but in spite of that, we are so often caught off guard when suffering actually comes. Vicky said that when she and [her husband] came to the field they came expecting to suffer. It made me think of 1 Peter 4:1a: 'Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking...' 

"Arming yourself is something you do in preparation for battle. We have been called to battle, and we can prepare for it by expecting to meet hardship, because the One we follow endured it before us. That's not to say we should worry about it or anxiously wonder about what might happen, only that we should realize that it's coming so that we won't be taken by surprise when it does."

This expectation is something so lacking in American Christianity... and I know it is far too often lacking in my own heart. I don't know where following Christ may take me, but I pray that He gives me steadfastness, faith and courage to meet whatever does come. He gave everything for me.... 

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