I’m writing this on Wednesday morning because I’ll be in surgery for the removal of my gall bladder this afternoon (1:30). I appreciate your prayers!
It’s rather strange preparing for surgery and hospitalization (hopefully, just one night) when I feel perfectly fine. The gall bladder’s caused me extreme pain on three occasions, however, and so needs to come out.
This business of voluntarily subjecting myself to surgery when I feel great got me to thinking about how this is so much like our experience with the Christian walk. Following Jesus often seems to require of us that we think and act in ways that are difficult and seemingly costly. The easy way would be to follow our own whims and wishes which, often at the time, seem to be just fine, even desirable. The Lord’s teachings that we follow warn us, however, that we should know better.
We try to teach children about the value of delayed gratification. Sometimes you have to put off what seems to be the good that is at hand for the very best which is in the distance. We call it part of growing up. This, it seems to me, is what the Lord often asks us to do.
God frequently calls us to work hard and wait long. We, on the other hand, prefer results now, instant satisfaction and immediate gratification with a minimal of work involved. It may be something as simple as wanting to tell a person exactly what’s on our mind at the moment instead of holding our tongue and giving it some prayerful thought. It may mean we want to buy an item we really don’t need with money which we really don’t have, putting it on the credit card. It may mean fantasizing about the ideal friend, relative, co-worker, or mate instead of investing the time and effort in the relationships the Lord has put into our lives.
Jesus is the ultimate example of seeing beyond the moment who“for the joy set before him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2) Part of faith is trusting God when He says time and time again in His Word that we are to deny and resist that which would be easy to give in to and aim, instead, for His best that will take some time, effort and sacrifice. Jesus tells us, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)
The doctor says that the surgery should take care of my problem. I believe him. I’ll go through with it, though it won’t be easy. I believe Jesus even more! I want to carry through with His plans for me, though I know it won’t always be easy. You too?