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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Answering myself from the other day's depression and confusion

Sometimes, I'll admit it, following Christ isn't fun.

First off, there are lots of "hard sayings" that Jesus Himself gave us. Next, some assert, "A true Christian is never sad." (Guess I'm not a true Christian?) Then there is the attraction of a worldly life, and there are frustrations that can occasionally come with seeing the world through a sacramental lens in opposition to that worldly view, which is always snapping at one's heals. It is always there, in one's face (even though it's allurement quickly wanes once you get past the surface and the temptation to think, "Well, there must be something wrong in the way I'm going along with the world. Hey, I know: Instead of rejecting this as a false way to happiness, I'll double down!").

But like Jesus' response to the crowd leaving in John 6 because of these "hard sayings," where Jesus turns to the apostles and asks, "Will you go, too?" we have to reply with Peter, because it's true, "Lord, to whom else shall we go? You alone have the words of everlasting life." I think about this this morning because I was looking at the cover of my Bible, which has an icon of Christ on it. And on it, He's holding a book with the words, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

It's so true. It's probably my favorite saying of Our Lord's. You see, even though I'm a Christian, I may---scratch that---will have days that are not filled with joy and hope (a product of my own seeing the glass half empty). But being a Christian, I have the light to see where the potholes and bad detours are on the road of life. And I can avoid them. The detours may look as attention grabbing as a shiny penny, but underneath, by and large, they're just common and even corrosive nickel. They won't lead me to my final destination, my *desired* destination: A place of fulfilling relationship, one that eternally unfolds.

Therefore, ultimately, avoiding those false paths and finding true joys and living in true, authentic hope will be the ultimate road to happiness and contentment. It doesn't mean there won't be struggles for me. Too bad. Oh well. The Master said, "Pick up your cross daily, and follow Me." The cross is an instrument of execution, of torture. Life is filled with crosses, for everyone, believers and non-believers alike. But with Christ, those crosses aren't meaningless. They have a purpose, a redemptive, even joyful purpose.

So, yeah, being a Christian isn't always "fun." I'll take it over any other path, though. It provides more adventure than anything else I can possibly imagine. Want to join me in it? I hope you'll prayerfully consider doing so.

God bless you.

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