Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Better than we realize

   “Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29–30, ESV)

Jesus doesn't mince words, there's no doubt about it. He promises that suffering and persecution will accompany, even characterize, a life lived in his footsteps. But do we realize there's more to it than that?

Jesus promises more than stoic suffering. He unabashedly promises that the sacrifice will be worth it. Indisputably worth it. Worth the tears, the doubts, the betrayals, the heart ache and everything this world can scourge us with. Not a single person welcomed into the kingdom will wonder about whether it was worth it.

But even though we're promised so much more, we don't seem to get past the stoic suffering part. Christians live somber lives. Lives consumed by the stress and needs of this life. To them, Christ says, "Look at me. You must suffer, you must persevere through this, but keep your gaze on me. Keep your gaze on eternity."

To the non-Christian, I would ask for a simple clarity in the discussion. Christ does not expect suffering for nothing. He does not ask you to forsake yourself for nothing. He does not call you to repent of your life of sin for nothing.

He promises a fullness of life different and better than you've ever experienced. He promises riches that will never fade, glory without end. He promises to make you right with your creator, to bring you in as an heir in the royal family.

If anyone understands this life, it's Christ. If anyone understands suffering, it's Christ. This faithful friend, this man of sorrows, he beckons to you and says, "Come. Suffer the trials and turmoil of this world. You will not regret it... for I will be waiting for you at the end."

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