When you want the glory without the path that gets you there
I dreamed it.
And it scared me.
Scared me right into humble submission to every long, hard, fatigued, feeling-sick day. Scared me into waiting patiently. Scared me into receiving whatever I needed to learn and do in this hard waiting process.
And ever since week six, I had been grumbling about how I was excited about the child, but how I was horribly dreading/already hating the pregnancy . I kept whining to my very patient husband, “I just wish I could go into labor tomorrow. Why can’t I just skip the 9 months of utter misery and weakness, and get the kid?! Isn’t that what we were going to do with adoption? I’d do anything, just to be on my way to the hospital, ready to deliver this baby.”
And then I dreamed that it came true.
And I went into labor, and I was at the hospital….
…and I delivered a tiny, shriveled, and underdeveloped baby. A dead baby. And the doctors told me,
“The baby didn’t have enough time to develop and grow. There was no way for the baby to make it.”
And that morning, the emotions still washing over me of what that would have been like, the Lord impressed it on my heart.
“What I am growing within you, is far more than a baby.
And the character, patience, long-suffering, and endurance I will develop in you takes time.
If you rush the suffering, you will rush all that I am growing in you.
You will get a truncated self, just like that truncated baby”
So in my natural, in-my-strength, and according-to-my-plan self, I’d much rather avoid the messiness, weakness, humbling, and agony of it all. Can’t we just skip to the glory? (have a precious little person in my arms to hold and to cherish?) But God is teaching me the same thing He was teaching His followers two thousand years ago.
You see, Peter seemed to have the exact sentiments as I do. (about the glory, not necessarily the baby)
This passionate and impulsive fisherman-turned-follower-of-Jesus, had great, bold faith in the Christ. He caught glimpses of a Kingdom led by this humble yet strong Man. He was going to follow this God-leader into VICTORY. He knew Jesus was the path to glory, to the Kingdom, that he had been longing for.
But he forgot that death is the path to glory, the shame of the cross the window into joy, the loss of self the finding of oneself.
He wanted what death brings about, but he wanted to skip the mess, the humility, the weakness of that which brings us to the resurrection.
Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16: 21-23
Peter didn’t want suffering, entrapment, torture and death for Jesus. “There is another way!” He declares. “Far be it from you, Lord, that you should ever suffer such weakness, vulnerability, and humiliation!” Poor Peter, with all his good intentions, had his mind on the things of man, not on the things of God. And I, too, deserve such a rebuke. For Jesus has predicted my death, and I try to declare “There must be another way!”
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
And who, in their right mind, would voluntarily choose death. and struggle. and suffering. and denial of our hopes and dreams. Who on earth would want to be a “disciple” if that is what the requirements are for the “Jesus Club”?
No one. Unless….unless, they witnessed, this leader walking straight towards death. Riding a donkey right into the city where He would be handed over. Continuing to be friends with the very man who would sell him for thirty pieces of silver. Head straight for the suffering. Not for suffering sake, but for the sake of the Love of the Father, the love of the Father for…
For the whole messy, bumbling crew of us.
When one witnesses that kind of suffering motivated by love, we can’t help but follow.
No matter what the cost. No matter what the cross.
And because it was LOVE that motivated our Savior’s, sacrifice and death.
We can rest in the fact that no matter what sacrifices and deaths we face,
the Lord has led us there
Because of LOVE.
May we not shortchange His love simply because it doesn’t “feel” good in the moment. For, if you just wait three days. (or 9 months in my case) or even years and years,
Glorious, wonderful, experience-love-to-the-fullest RESURRECTION takes place.
And its worth every step on the path that gets us there.