Don't Run From Suffering - Embrace It
Then Jesus told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? Luke 9:23-25 The Message
Jesus is trying get through the thick skulls of his disciples that following Jesus would not lead to a life of ease and success. Sure, God is with us; of course, God answers prayer; yes, we're saved; and then there's the Holy Spirit living within us giving us joy and peace and power. These are all true. And yet Jesus feels the need to add to those things that life will also be hard. Living in denial about suffering will only lead to, you guessed it, more suffering!
That line, "Don't run for suffering; embrace it" just wrecks me every time I read it because it means that I have to face the sadness, loneliness and hardships that life brings me. Fortunately, it's Jesus who is telling us these things - and he's the one who has promised to be with us through it all so I don't have to worry about going it alone.
Look back over that passage above and ask yourself this question: "What is Jesus saying to me about how to live today as I follow him?"