God never plays games with us. He never lies to us. He always shoots straight with us.
I believe that is why Jesus plainly said,
“And no one can be my disciple who does not carry his own cross and follow me. But DON’T BEGIN until you count the cost…” Luke 14:27-28What could be plainer than that statement?
So, why don’t we believe Him?
Why do we play games?
(Because we do.)
In the Western Church we act like this “discipleship-thing” is some sort of a democratic club. We sing that God is supreme. We say that Jesus is our King. But, if things don’t go well? If we don’t get to have our say, or have our way? We bail out—plain and simple.
The sad truth most church statisticians agree upon.
We hate to be inconvenienced, and because of that, there are as many people going out the back door of our churches as are coming in the front door!
If we don’t get what we want, and by that I mean, the pastor’s length of sermon, the style of music, the style of service, a good parking spot, or our favorite seat—we find a way to say, “Bye-bye.” Suffering—REAL suffering—is definitely not on our agendas.
And that was me!
I was seriously thinking of bailing—and here was God—painting a picture of greater suffering?
I had lost my health, my job, and with it, all of my income, my good credit, my freedom and choice of movement, my church, all my church “friends” and now God was saying, “…things could get worse.”
You bet I was re-thinking my discipleship!
I was raised in the democratic Church in the West.
We vote on everything and I wanted a VOTE on this kind of agenda!
It’s all well and good to be sitting on my nice clean cushioned-seat, in my lovely safe air-conditioned church building, singing sweet songs about how much I love Jesus.
BUT, it was quite another to contemplate things getting much worse—while I was occupying my own personal ash pile!
What was I really signing up for?
Did I want this dream I had asked God to give me?
I mean, did I really want it—at any cost?
God was using words like “danger” and “hardship” with no apologies for either, you bet I was thinking long and hard.
Did I love Jesus as much as I claimed?
His words, “… don’t begin until you count the cost.” was certainly clear enough.
It was time to decide.
I know it looked crazy, (It probably sounds crazy too.) but my answer was, “Yes.”
I said, “LORD, I don’t have any idea where the two of us are headed, but I’ve come too far to turn back now.”
I was scared.
Life already looked plenty grim.
But regardless—I decided—I was all-in.
WHY DO YOU WEAR THAT FUNNY LOOK?
So you have chosen. Good. Good!
No turning back.
I AM glad you have chosen to go on.
It had to be your decision.
You are surprised?
Have I not chosen to bind Myself by men’s free will? What kind of relationship would choose to hog-tie the other’s free will? That is not friendship, that is slavery!
I AM no slaver!
I AM the Divine Lover.
I never force.
(No, it is not My way.)
I do want you to come away with Me—with all My heart I want this. I AM so jealous when you choose “another love” instead of Me.
I freely admit it I AM crazy about you!
Why do you wear that funny look?
Had you not figured it out by now?
Did I not tell you?
I would move stars and planets for you!
I would make the sun stand still for you!
I would follow you to the deepest, darkest cave, to win your love!
(This you know is true.)
Let Me shout it, “I LOVE YOU BELOVED!”
Let Me whisper it, “I love you.”
I love you with an intensity you will never understand!
When you choose Me—freely choose Me—no matter the cost? When you lay your life down as you have chosen to do?
My Spirit soars!
You are My passion Sweetheart. I wanted you to know it now, and for all time…
I love you.
“But we have never turned our backs on God…”