Did you know that being a follower of Jesus is not easy?
Last week was the worst one I have had since openly coming out about my depression. While everything was falling down around me, a sense of emptiness like I had not felt before enveloped me. And unless you have had the experience, a feeling of emptiness is a complex construct to explain. I drew this illustration last year while writing on the subject of emptiness.
The feeling or sense of emptiness can be loosely described as follows:
- a sense of being consumed from within
- a hollow feeling in your heart
- a feeling of worthlessness
- feeling numb to the world around you
- a sense of being unimportant, not relevant
A Common Misconception In Christianity Today
A common misconception in Christianity today is that a follower of Jesus has an easy life. Many passages from the Bible are taken out of context every day in order to further someone’s agenda. Let’s take for example, and I am sure even a non-believer has heard this one, God will never give you more than you can handle. Loosely taken from 1 Corinthians 10:13, those who flippantly use this verse actually do more harm than good to those who are suffering.
In his first epistle to the church in Corinth, Paul did not discuss an easy life. Instead, he was reminding them that God is faithful and would never let the temptations to sin be overwhelming. On the contrary, God is faithful always to provide an escape route. Being tempted to sin -vs- grief, loss, sickness, or death are not the same. The latter occurs due to our own disobedience. When God created us, He do so perfectly but in our free will, we became broken.
There Will Be Suffering for the Follower of Jesus
Christians! There will be suffering for the follower of Jesus. So instead of belittling someone’s pain and saying that God will not cause you more suffering than you can handle, share with them this passage from John 16.
“I have spoken these things to you in figures of speech. A time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name. I am not telling you that I will make requests to the Father on your behalf. For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” “Ah!” His disciples said. “Now You’re speaking plainly and not using any figurative language. Now we know that You know everything and don’t need anyone to question You. By this we believe that You came from God.” Jesus responded to them, “Do you now believe? Look: An hour is coming, and has come, when each of you will be scattered to his own home, and you will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” John 16:25-33 (HCSB)
I shared the full context to provide a better understanding. But my main point comes from verse 33. Jesus had been speaking to His disciples before Passover telling them about what was to come later in the week.
You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.
Jesus is clearly saying there will be suffering; however, He closes by telling us to be courageous. He has conquered the world. There is hope and his name is Jesus.
Don’t Be Suprised When the Fiery Ordeals Come
Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory. 1 Peter 4:12-13
And in closing today’s blog, we find in Peter’s first epistle, instructions not to be surprised by fiery trials. Peter goes further by saying we should rejoice in those trials. WOW! Now that is a difficult pill to swallow. How many times have you heard someone say, “Rejoice in your suffering!” Probably zero.
Before last week, my symptoms were manageable even as we approach my most difficult season of depression. Unfortunately, this relapse has taken a huge toll on me as I have slipped back into a state of severe depression. The mistake I made last week was trying to handle the stressor on my own instead of leaning on God. It is one of my many faults.
As I close this week’s musing, I would like to ask for prayer. Last week was difficult and this week has been just as challenging.
If you made it this far, please consider commenting below, subscribing, and also sharing on your social media sites. Most importantly, I ask for your prayers. I write this weekly blog as an outlet in my fight against depression. However, my hope is that something I write here may help others who may be struggling. If you would like to help with my battle against depression, check out my online Etsy store and affiliate links. Most proceeds are donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or by dialing 988. You may also text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. In emergencies, call 911, or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider.