“and since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” Romans 8:17 NLT
The month of February always seems long to me. I know it's the shortest month of the year, but about this time in Cleveland Ohio, the snow gets kind of old. Over the last four weeks, my house and life have been turned upside down. From my husband having pneumonia, to a major health concern and a surgery of a loved one. Now throw in four cases of the flu, including myself only to be followed up with all four kids on antibiotics for strep throat this week. Would it be wrong to scream out "HELP"? So that is exactly what I did. I cried out to the Lord.
So I started thinking. What did God want me to learn during this most trying time? I got my answer. I have spent the last four weeks depending only on Him. As Beth Moore puts it, when you are flat on your back, there’s no place to look but up. God has shown me restoration that He has provided within my family, overnight. He has shown me that the decision to leave my job in November was perfect timing by His standards. He has shown me what an amazing husband He has blessed me with. I could go on and on, but the biggest lesson that I took from this experience is the answer to the question "What is my motive for following Christ?"
You see anything we as humans do, tends to hold a motive. Do we take the new job that pays more? If I take the dog for a walk, I will get exercise too. I love being friends with so and so; they always make me feel special. Well friends, I was faced head on with that question. So, why do I follow Christ?
When I decided to repent of my old life and raise my white flag toward the Son, I did it because it just made so much sense. As I grew in the Lord, I began to realize that this lifestyle was not easy and sometimes made no sense at all. The more I would submit and surrender the crazier the requests would seem. The deeper my love for Christ, the harder the trials have been.
James 1:1 says "consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds". The joy is not in the trial itself, it's in the realization that the Savior of the world as allowed me to suffer along side of Him. How crazy is that?
While struggling through these trials, it has occurred to me that this Christian thing is so much more than a feel-good club. We are not here to just spread the happy news; we are here to spread the good news, which is the gospel. If we truly believe what the bible tells us than we must live and experience all parts of what it holds. God uses everything we do or experience in this crazy symphony of life. Although I can't even begin to imagine why these last four weeks have taken place, I know that God is using it to shape someone’s faith, whether it is mine or someone watching my family go through this time.
As I stood in the shower after being knee deep in unrecognizable bodily fluids of my children, I pondered this question, and then praised God for the answer. I follow Christ simply because He is. That's it, no motive. I don't follow Him to get rich. I don't follow Him to have a life with no sorrow. I don't follow Him because they serve coffee at my church on Sunday mornings. I follow Him because He is, He was, and He ever will be. These past few weeks have shown me so much about my commitment to follow Christ. My family has been so blessed by prayer, meals, and even groceries, but most of all I feel truly blessed just to be His.