It is easy to give God lip service. For most of us, at the moment of conversion the only fear we have is that of the people around us who will stare at us while we walk down the church aisle. Our greatest fear is the line of hand shakers we have to meet as we stand at the front of the church. To tell you the truth, my call to ministry came with the same lackluster fears. I knew I was called, but I never counted the cost.
This past week I sat with my director of missions over a cup of coffee at our local hospital. We were sharing our joys and struggles. We shared with each other our hopes and disappointments. As I was sharing a few of the struggles in my life I came to a realization. In retrospect this realization came more as a ton of bricks being dropped on my head. My realization was simple — I was considering myself as exempt from the sufferings of my faith.
I wanted to have an easy time. I want to share my faith and have people turn to Jesus. I want to have a life fruitful to Christ. In this, I want a life without struggles and pain. I want to be a part of God’s plan while at the same time exempt from its cost.
As I have studied over our text for Sunday morning I have dwelt on John 12:27-28: “Now is my soul troubled. What shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
Jesus knew the pain that was to come on the cross. He knew the agony he would deal with as he would slowly suffocate. He knew the wrath that was to come for our sins. In this his response was simple — the purpose of God far outweighs any of the pain that accompanies it.
Our call is simple — to pick up our cross and follow Christ. We must count the cost. We must realize that there will be pain in our future. In all of this, though, we must realize that any cost paid will pale in comparison to the purpose God has for us. The question I leave is one I am stewing over myself… Am I, are you, willing to suffer the cost in order to carry the cross?