It’s tempting to think that the Christ-following life should make things easier
for us, and in some ways it does. There is no question that following Christ
teaches us attitudes and ways of being that make us more whole, more
connected and more able to contribute to the world. But, in many ways,
following Christ also makes things more difficult. If we are serious about
living a God-honoring life, we will discover that, like any relationship, we
need to work at it daily—choosing to praise and thank God, and
committing over and over to generosity, forgiveness, grace, compassion
and justice. It also means that we will often be at odds with the values and
practices of our world and the people in it—which can lead to persecution,
rejection and heartbreak.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is reported to have said, “When Christ calls a [person],
he bids [that person] come and die.” This is still as true for us as it was for
him, or for biblical servants of God like Samuel and Nathaniel. This means
that when we respond to God’s call, we can expect to wrestle with our own
tendencies to selfishness and rebellion, and we can expect to wrestle with
the great struggles of our world—war, poverty, injustice, hatred, division
and persecution. But, thankfully, God promises to strengthen and help us,
and to provide companions to share the journey.
Perhaps the greatest gift we possess when we face difficult times is the
ability to pray—which, at its most basic, is simply asking for help. Today,
practice asking for help whenever you may need it. You can do this in quick
‘arrow prayers’ addressed to God, and you can do it by asking the people
that God has placed around you as agents of God’s help.
Give me strength, Dear God, and save me.