25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
According to “experts,” the 5 MOST STRESSFUL LIFE EVENTS are as follows:
- Death of a loved one
- Major Illness or Injury
- Job Loss
My friend, we have suffered three of these in the last fourteen months. Yes. Three. My mother died unexpectedly in April 2021, we moved from NC to FL in July 2021, and my husband was laid off unexpectedly in June.
Why are we surprised?
The Lord said that being a disciple would be costly. He even warned me in a dream before we said “yes” in following Him to the Promised Land.
Jesus counted the cost.
In return, He is simply asking, “are you willing to do the same for me?”
And our family is suffering.
He carried His cross.
And we’re carrying our cross.
He chose to obey the Father.
And we’re choosing to obey the Father.
Because we love Him – as He first loved us.
A friend recently sent an encouraging text, letting me know she was praying for and with us, asking if we felt a bit like Job in this season. Indeed. We do. In fact, that very morning, before her correspondence, I re-read his story. Like Job, we have suffered much loss. Like Job, we’ve been encouraged by those who’ve simply sat and wept with us. And, like Job, we’ve also been discouraged by those who’ve misrepresented the Father’s heart, in comforting His people. I throw no stones. In my religious zealousness, I too have tried to give the right answer to the questions people have when grieving. Many times, I accurately recited the law, but in the end, I failed to love. It breaks my heart, as it does His.
Regardless, this season of suffering is not about our friends, it’s about us. Specifically, it’s about our hearts. The Lord is allowing the Accuser to test us- shaking the walls of our protection, our property and our prosperity (Job 1:6-12). As we’re being sifted like wheat, I see areas of pride that hinder me from pursuing the Lord with all my heart. THIS is Good News! Our circumstances haven’t changed, people haven’t changed, but I am being changed.
My friend, HE is worth it!
45 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. 46 When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!