Sunday, July 2, 2006

Abiding now...Part VI - Forsaking all but Christ.

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25-33)

When Jesus walked along the seashore and spoke to His first disciples, He said, "Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men." And they immediately dropped their nets and went with Him. Like the Israelites in the desert, they did not know where they were going or what they were being led into, but they followed the Leader, knowing so long as He went before them, all would be well. The disciples left their boats and nets and, presumably, their catch for that well as their families, and followed without question. The Israelites left Egypt and one safe camp after another, knowing that they were in a desert and that habitable and fruitful land was already inhabited by those who would likely defend it to the death. Yet, each day, they rose and followed the impenetrable cloud by day and the blinding pillar of fire by night and chose to trust God.

Are we so willing to forsake all we know and understand...all that would logically provide for our care and sustenance and happiness...all we are used to and those we love for the sake of Christ? I am sure each of us would like to think so...but then "extenuating circumstances" have a way of showing us just where our loyalties lie.

An acquaintance of mine recently lost her 4 year old daughter in a swimming accident. Will she follow the cloud and pillar of fire? Will she trust that, even in this, God is there, caring for her...and that in His infinite and unfathomable sovereignty, this tragedy is a mercy and a kindness?

That doesn't compute clearly to much less to a heart that is grieving beyond all measure. But, according to the Word of God, this is truth. In moments such as these, when those things we can't bear to lose or give up are taken or shaken we have three choices: 1) Do all we can to preserve what is ours; 2) Resent the Lord for shaking or taking; or 3) Say with Job, "Though you slay me, still I will trust you!"

When I was in Baton Rouge for my Katrina exile, a situation arose with my nieces that shook me to my core. I feared for their safety and was fully aware of my powerlessness to protect them from the circumstances of life. For 3 days, I was panic-stricken and could not even pray because every time I tried, I just cried. There have been many other moments like that since them...times when I have to realize that He didn't give them to me and that I can't say I trust Him with my life and not trust Him with theirs. Most recently, the thought came to me that the Lord might have me move away from New Orleans at some point. Immediately, my heart was in my throat. "I can't leave the girls!" I cried. Then, quietly A Voice said, "Would you forsake your God?"

"No, Lord."

In that moment, I knew there truly was no other choice. But the hard reality is that allegiance to Christ means forsaking all others. Just like a marriage. We choose one to whom our loyalty must always defer, "forsaking all others...till death us do part." And so it is when we become the Bride of Christ. We must side with Him, choose Him, obey Him, follow Him...go withersoever He long as we live.
Yet, the blessed reality is, unlike choosing to trust or align ourselves with others, we can know that loyalty to Christ - no matter how difficult the choice is - the outcome will always be the best of all possible outcomes. Better than we can think or imagine or understand.


  1. I want to get on my knees and please Jesus!

  2. Great post! This is one of the most difficult concepts of Scripture, isn't it?