When Job was sitting on a dump pile picking at his festering sores with broken pottery,having lost nearly everything, his wife questioned his faith. She asked “Why do you still trust in God? Why don’t you curse Him and die?”. Job’s answer is my favorite part of the story. He told her:
“Don’t talk like a fool! If we accept blessings from God, we must accept trouble as well.” (Job 2:8-10)
Many of us think following Jesus is a type of insurance. Doing so will protect us from the bad things in life so we are assured only the good things will happen to us. We can live our lives how we want, and when trouble comes, we can cash in on that policy insurance and everything will go right again. Seems like a good deal.
Scott and I grew up knowing about Jesus. As adults, we gave our hearts to Him. We went to church faithfully. We served as deacons, Sunday School teachers,and board members. We give to the needs of our church and community. We home school our children so we can give them a faith based education. We memorize Scripture. We pray. We try to please Him. We did everything right, you could say. We purchased the life time insurance policy, paid it in full and should have been safe.
But Scott still got a disease. Not just any disease. An incurable, little known rare disease. What happened?
We held up our end of the deal didn’t we? Well, I’m not so sure we have. Like Job said to his wife: we accept the blessings with an open hand, don’t we? What about the troubles?
Part of me wishes I could pull out my insurance policy, and remind the Lord of all we have done for Him. I’m pretty sure He will remind us what we signed up for, and suggest that maybe we skimmed through the good parts and overlooked some major details. We could think God is not honoring His end of the bargain. But maybe it’s us who isn’t fulfilling our end of the deal.
Following Jesus required us to lay our lives down.
Following Him required that we take up His cross and share in His suffering.
Following Him means we lose our own lives to receive His.
When we agree to live our lives for Him, we know: The fires will come. It will burn and get hot. It will seem like it’s going to consume you. But He will be there to get you through it. He will be in the heat with you. He will heal the burns and tend the wounds. He will never leave you alone in the fire to fight it alone.
You see, it isn’t insurance you get when you follow Jesus.