Somewhere I Belong, or the Hardships of Following Jesus with Abandon

walkingaloneWe often talk about the joys of following Jesus and truly there are many of them; however there are also many hardships that must be endured.  In fact Jesus and His disciples talk openly about this being an assumed part of the Christian life.  I feel like it’s not something that is talked about enough because it’s simply not popular.  I mean, who is going to want to give their life to a faith that will lead to ridicule, mockery, mass criticism, and persecution (spiritual, emotional, and sometimes physical)? But that’s what happens when we seek God and allow Him to lead our lives.

“But Dan,” you might be saying, “you are sounding very negative right now.”  Perhaps I am, but I don’t want to be the guy who is always putting on the happy face. Jesus won my heart a decade ago and I’ve never been the same; I am exponentially better than the man I was before Christ, and I am more fulfilled in the work I’ve been given to do than I was in the hedonistic life I lived before.  While I am happy with my life, there are times of trials and hardships that my family and I face that have a habit of sucking the happiness from the current situation. I am thankful that God’s goodness is not contingent upon my happiness.

My family and I left our home of 5 years along with our friends and church family to move into a community where we were the outsiders.  We care for our neighbors but many of them do not walk the path we have been called to walk, namely the path of total abandon to the Will of God.

What do I mean?

God does call all Christians to give of themselves and serve Him in this world, but not all are called to sell everything they have and leave everyone they know to go spread the Word. This does not mean those without this calling are of lesser importance to Christ as we are all working for the expansion of His Kingdom, it’s simply a statement of fact and an acknowledgement that we are often misunderstood.

The world thinks we are irresponsible, irrational, foolish, and possibly delusional for leaving a good job and a comfortable life without a guarantee of something similar.  Similarly, many Christians think we are foolish for embarking on this, assuming that God will take care of our needs, because “God helps those who help themselves.”

One verse that has brought a lot of comfort has been Hebrews 4:15, knowing that Jesus endured the same kind of trials we (all) are.

I must admit that this has been a very difficult and trying time for my family and I.  As we make our way toward serving Jesus in Uganda we are going to have to say goodbye to everything we have ever known.  I am okay with this because I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am right where God wants me, but it’s hard because I feel all out of sorts.  I’m feeling like I don’t have anywhere I belong.  Peter encouraged the Church of his day who were feeling this same way.  He identified them as “sojourner and exiles.”  What this means is that as Christians, we shouldn’t expect to find our place in this world, but just because I understand this doesn’t mean I like it!  I’ve spent a lot of time at the homes of those who aren’t serving Jesus or His Kingdom, and they seem much better off than my family, but then I am reminded of when Jesus said that those who live in this way are earning their reward now and ours is yet to come.

YANAPlease pray for my family and I.  The last 3 weeks have been some of the hardest we have faced in the last 2 years.  Pray for us to find peace in Christ, and join us as we ask for somewhere to belong.  As always, feel free to comment below or share any prayer requests you might have in the comments or via email.  Until next time…

Edited: 31 October 2014

This post was edited from it’s original version on 10/31/2014 for numerous grammatical errors.  The original post was more of a “journal” style entry and was nearly deleted.  I chose to leave the post for those who may be in the same position of feeling alone and exiled.  You are not alone.


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