Monday, March 12, 2012

Walking through Trouble

image (c) by Marilee Miller 2012

Walking through Trouble

Ted Gossard, who blogs at the “Jesus Community”,
wrote a post called “out of one’s comfort zone”. He cites Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who says that Jesus bids us come and die.

He also quotes the Scripture text, “I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” (Philippians 3:10)

Here is the comment I made in response to his post.

If we told “seekers” that dying to self isn’t just a phrase about us trying to live more unselfishly and trying to be “holy minded”, would they even WANT Christ? Who wants to say, with Paul, that we want to experience the sufferings of Christ? (or of Paul) Yikes!

Billy Graham used to say it was the easiest thing in the world to accept Christ. You just said “I come”. It seems to me like it was years before he explained that following him afterwards was hard. That living the surrendered life wasn’t “all you have to do is…”

Many of us lose our enthusiasm when we’ve been a Christian for a long time. Sacrifice gets harder and sounds less noble when we keep having to walk through trouble. Only by clinging to him, calling on his name, looking at the end result (our future reward as faithful servants) can we continue to follow. And that following gets to be HIS work in us. We can’t do it ourselves. Oh, how we need him to move in our lives! Oh, how we need his power! But it’s by grace we are saved, not by our thoughts and actions. Halleluliah! What a Saviour!!

How do you feel about our surrendering our entire selves to God, if this act triggers a long process of dying to self-interest and our own desires -- (even though we can guess the process of dying isn’t sweet or easily-accomplished!)?

When you face struggles, have you ever asked, “Why me?” Or felt He was allowing too much suffering in your lives? Have you experienced times of choosing to rejoice that tribulation works patience and character in us?

This post is shared with "Seedlings in Stone" and "Playdates with God"

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Your comments will be a great encouragement to me. Thanks.


  1. Hmmm. I don't know why your link didn't link, MM, but I'm so glad you posted this. Sometimes I think we have it much too easy-most of us. I often hear stories about Christians in third world countries and all they are willing to sacrifice for their faith and I wonder, "where does their strength come from?" Well. Don't I know where it comes from? Difference being that they have learned to depend on Him far more than I.

    You are making me think today. I haven't been over to the blog you mention but it sounds interesting.

  2. You know, I've been kinda thinking about the points you mention here lately... Sometimes I think I get it all backwards, you know? I get scared about what I'm going to need to give up or what I'm going to be asked to do... but the truth hits me that Jesus wants the best for my life, so it's not scary at all. I'm not going to be asked anything but what I was created to do. And those are good things. I cannot compare my life to anyone's elses, I have to live my own. And when it comes down to it, really, I am going to be asked to do things that I have a passion for, that I'm good at, that I've been made for... even if I didn't yet realize it. When I'm pushing to be a certain way, I realize that I'm getting too much into my own thinking and comparing again, to what I think "should be" rather than going with what God's Spirit is really leading...

  3. P.S. I posted today on "Resilience" and perhaps it will resonate?

  4. I do ask "Why me" --- often! And really, the answer comes back in a thousand different ways. Usually, i have brought trouble on my head and i'm just living through the consequences.

  5. You have raised some good tough questions to ask ourselves. Heb. 12:1-3 came to mind...especially the part where it says, "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

    I think of believers I know (in person and that I read about in countries where one can be killed for one's faith in Christ) and I am humbled by their deep love and faith in God. I think of a woman who became blind and instead of asking God, "Why me?" (which I probably would have), she asked, "Why not me?"

    Sorry can't be of much easy answers here...I have clung to GOd, cried out to many times, and sometimes He seems so far, but after following Him for so many years, I have also experienced the looking back and seeing that He was there even when it seemed like He wasn't...clinging to Heb 13:5 and Deut. 31:8...blessings of His peace to you, Marilee :)

  6. I want to be more like Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who is facing execution in Iran. Like Corrie and Betsy and the Ten Boom family who were persecuted for righteousness. That kind of courage is my desire… Like the disciples, who suffered martyrdom… Like Christ, who gave him life for me and for all mankind. I want to be like my heroes of the faith. My heart cry, above all, is to KNOW HIM and the power of his resurrection. But the fellowship of his suffering? Not so much. Still, He knows my desire to be conformed to his image and likeness.
    “Have you experienced times of choosing to rejoice that tribulation works patience and character in us?”
    Yes. Quite recently, just this week in fact. It has made me stronger. Tribulation draws me ever closer to HIS heart. This message awakened in me more awareness of what is happening to me at this juncture in time, and for that, I thank you!


I would rejoice greatly to receive a comment from you, thanks.