This whole Christianity thing? Not for the faint of heart. The Bible is replete with examples of the Divine courage it takes to profess a belief in Jesus as Lord. Take the apostles, for example. They were imprisoned, they were beaten, and they rejoiced in every minute of it, because they were working under the Highest of orders.
“’Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.’ His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 5:38-40).
I am convicted here of my chicken-heartedness. If I’m being honest, the only thing I’ve ever really suffered in the expression of my faith is an eye roll or a knowing look. At its worst, a friendship becomes strained. And yet my eternity remains secure. My personal investment is so far outweighed by His great reward to me. And yet He loves me anyway.
Like the apostles, I am called to a divine purpose. I know, because my failures are always due to my activity of “human origin.” Human origin. As in, “not omniscient.” As in, “flawed.” I can imagine God’s view downward upon us, the miniscule specs of humanity, moving our life’s pieces on a tiny planet, thinking we know how everything is supposed to work out, when in reality, the Divine Design guides every move. I’ve been known to try shoving a square-peg decision into a round hole outcome because I want it so bad. I’ve tried to shoe-horn, fast-track, kick-open. And then I’m surprised when it doesn’t work. That’s because it’s all me. There is no God in it. But when the Lord puts the hint of an idea in my heart, when I feel the hem of His garment as it passes by and there is a happy marriage of desire and success, I am emboldened. I cannot be stopped. I have courage enough to face imprisonment, or worse.
May I always rejoice in being counted worthy to endure whatever comes my way, suffering included. May I remember God’s purpose does not – cannot – stop.
Guest today on 66 Books, and a wife and mother of three children ages eight and under. She received her J.D. from the University of Virginia, and in addition to numerous webzine articles and short stories, Sarah is the co-author of “When the Fairy Dust Settles: A Mother and Her Daughter Discuss What Really Matters” (Warner Faith 2004). Sarah has served in youth ministry for over ten years, and is currently writing for www.ChosenFamilies.org where she uses her son’s Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis to encourage other families living with disabilities.