“Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble,
and the day that is coming will set them on fire…” – Malachi 3:19
“… they will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” — Luke 21:12-20
Sometimes I just want to quit, because it is so hard, but then the words of the Bible sting me.
When I contemplate these scriptures, I feel like Jesus has me tucked me under His arm and is saying: “I need to know, are you really willing to die for this? How serious are you about doing this for me?” I wince. I whine that I’d rather just keep still, praying and adoring his awesomeness. Certainly, that’s the main job of some of us who are in this Christian life. But, it’s not my main job.
No, it seems that I am designed to be an action girl. I can’t say I am totally eager. Jesus can seem like an annoying friend sometimes, who is constantly demanding my attention. I roll my eyes. We argue. I remind Him that I already publicly proclaimed my devotion to Him when I agreed to be a Franciscan sister and enter my community at just 24 years old. And then I did it again when I was consecrated to Him when I made my first vows in July of 2009. These actions have totally messed me up already. I wanted those “yeses” to be good enough because they were pretty big deals. As I say all this, Jesus nods and smiles because He already knows.
For some reason Jesus (with the Father and the Spirit) keeps asking me to do more. I am so confused and resist out of disbelief. I try to sit down and pout. I try to kick and scream “No! Leave me alone!” After I calm down, I simply and awkwardly stutter “uh, uh, um, no, I can’t.” Jesus laughs and reminds me that we’re united and I made vows to obey Him. I sigh and remember why I agreed to be dedicated to Him. (I like the way He sees things and His love is totally divine!)
Jesus wins the fight, of course, because, well, when it’s the Creator of the universe insisting it’s pretty much impossible to turn away. Even though I am irritated I am still totally enamored by Him—just like I was all the other times He called me. His power is fierce and I fall head over heals all over again.
So, I give into the demands, which are actually quite gentle. I know deeply that His ways are best; they are best for me and for the Kingdom. God can use me to help the Kingdom come, and I believe that a better world and church are possible. I want more people to take Jesus seriously and be totally messed up by His love like I have been.
I know it’s going to be a lot of work and I am totally terrified. I know I can’t do it, really, but I know that with great grace from God, it’ll happen. I’ll try to add a voice to the song of creation that calls forth newness. I pray that I’ll be an instrument that the Holy Spirit blows through and the music is in harmony. I pray to be empty of my pride, sloth, lust, anger, and greed so that the song from my soul is in tune. Somehow Jesus brought me into this conversion, and I seem to have said yes again.
With great trust, I let Him hold my hand and lead me into working with The Living Word. He’s called me to write. I’ve said okay, so here I go, because although it’s uncomfortable to cooperate with Jesus’ demands, it’s worth it.
Like the scripture says, I know I may be hated by all because of His name, but I decide to persevere anyhow. Persevering shall secure my life. I believe, in fact, that following His way will give me- and others- more freedom to live life to the fullest.
Plus, breaking up with Jesus is hard to do. And, I didn’t really want to.