Following up on yesterday’s post… I’m preaching this weekend from John chapter 21 on the "Nakedness and Brokenness of
In my own life, I’ve been struck over the past 11 months by a stark reality that I knew but was afraid to admit. It’s a reality of faith that many Christians, if not most, are afraid to embrace. Often times, Christians have given people the idea that "everything works out for
good" for those who believe in Jesus. While that’s ultimately true, it does not
mean that our problems go away now or that our kids stop rebelling now or
that our boss starts liking us now or that our health issues go
away now. Following Jesus does not exempt anyone from trouble.
From wading in and waiting on the words written in the last chapters of John, I’m
coming to believe more and more that following Jesus will involve a very painful
process. Jesus walks a very difficult road… and asks us to follow him. Definitively, salvation is secure… but an immediate remedy for suffering is not. And this is the testimony of faithful believers throughout history. Even in recent history, faithful followers of Jesus have embraced the uncertainty of the path. CS Lewis said that pain produced joy. Henri Nouwen said that it takes incredible courage to truly follow Jesus where he wants to go. Gene Edwards has said that God is looking for broken people. The Bible says that a sad face is good for the heart. Jesus said that whoever wants to gain his life must lose it.
Six-hundred years ago a monk named Thomas Kempis wrote this:
Jesus hath now many lovers of his heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of his cross.
He hath many desirous of comfort, but few of tribulation.
He findeth many companions of his table, but few of his abstinence.
All desire to rejoice with him, few are willing to endure anything for him, or with him.
Many follow Jesus unto the breaking of bread; but few to the drinking of the cup of his passion.
Many reverence his miracles, few follow the ignominy of his cross.
Many love Jesus so long as adversities do not happen.
Many praise and bless him, so long as they receive comforts from him.
But if Jesus hide himself, and leave them but a little while, they fall either into complaining or into too much dejection of mind. 
It’s mind bending and burdening stuff. Our Savior was a Suffering Servant. Our Lord wept. Our Lord bled. I struggle to share this truth… let alone embrace it myself. How do we begin to share this with others
evangelistically? It’s not the most attractive of invitations is it? Imagine saying this to someone:
"Hey, you know what, you should follow Jesus. He loves you! And there’s a great benefit package: You get to share in
suffering and persecution and meekness and selflessness and your family
might get divided up and the government might harass you and you’ll get to carry your own cross…" We
don’t usually say that do we?
 Kempis, Thomas. The Imitation of Christ (Chicago: Moody Press, 1984), pp.114-115.