In Good Company

Occasionally, God has to remind me just exactly what “following Jesus” means. I tend to forget.

One of these reminders came a while ago when I received a series of criticisms from fellow Christians. I sought to understand the reasons for their disapproval—but I couldn’t. I felt misjudged.

To make matters worse, the accuser of the brethren (and sistren!)  stepped in to energize my discouragement. Just who do you think you are, anyway? He taunted. What makes you think God can use you?

I hate to admit this, but I saw his point. If God was actually using me, should I be receiving such harsh criticism? Doesn’t following Jesus mean doing ministry well? Doesn’t it mean following Jesus well? How could God use me if people misunderstood me so badly and misinterpreted what I was trying to do for God and His kingdom?

But I was forgetting something really important. I was forgetting what following Jesus includes.

God reminded me through a very old poem written by Amy Carmichael, a missionary to India in the early 1900s.

Hast thou no scar?

No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?

I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;

I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.

Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?

Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,

Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent

By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.

Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?

Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,

And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.

But thine are whole; can he have followed far

Who hast no wound or scar?

God reminded me that following Jesus means identifying with Him in suffering. He was opposed at every turn. He was misunderstood and mistreated. Jesus told us that “No servant is greater than his master” (John 13:16). He said that if people persecuted Him (and they did) then they would persecute His followers, too (John 15:20). Jesus was criticized far more harshly than I ever have been. And it wasn’t because He messed up somehow. He did everything well—every time! Yet His path was anything but smooth. Following God does not mean an absence of criticism—it actually may mean the presence of it!

Being criticized, especially by fellow believers, is painful. But remembering that it’s part of what it means to follow Jesus has taken the edge off the pain. It helps to know that it goes with the territory of serving Jesus. And it helps to know I’m in good company—with Him.

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5 thoughts on “In Good Company

  1. Bev says:

    I LOVE that poem by Amy Carmichael. Such a reminder of what we can expect when we choose to follow Jesus
    . My granddaughter recently made the decision to be a Christ follower and I told her He would ask hard things of her. May she be worthy.

  2. judycdiehl says:

    Of all the people in the world, God chose you to lead me to Jesus Christ. The time and love, including the tough love, that you have invested in my life is priceless to me and I’m thinking it must be to the Holy Trinity also. The deepest desire of my life is to love God and to share Christ with others in life giving ways. You helped make that possible and I thank and praise God for you! As you walk this difficult part of the journey with Christ, I lovingly hold you up to Him in prayer.

    Judy

  3. Joan Pekrul says:

    I want you to know that I look forward to your blog every Wednesday. Your words always inspire me and make me think about my walk with Jesus. God is certainly using you to help me. When we get to heaven we are all going to get along, until then there will be suffering and there will be times when we cry. I’m looking forward to meeting you at the gate someday!! Your sister in Christ, Joan Pekrul

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