We could be deceived into thinking that life is easy when we love Jesus. We do, after all, receive a peace that goes beyond understanding. We are filled with a hope that lasts this lifetime and the next. We are given joy through all circumstances. We have an eternal home and can spread love here in our earthly home. There is so much to celebrate. And that is all true. But we could take this as life becomes easy. With peace, hope, joy, and love, what could go wrong? Everything.
Loving Jesus does not make us immune from the things that happen in our world. It does not mean we ignore those who are starving. We do not act as though our planet is not in trouble and we, as Christians, are in charge of creation care. We do not live with our head tucked away to the real situations that are in our world. We face them head-on with the love and support of Jesus. That’s what he did – face the world. And yet, we can still struggle.
We can face depression on a daily basis and still love Jesus. We can battle anxiety every.single.moment and still love Jesus. We find ourselves fearful for no reason and still love Jesus. We can become overwhelmed by all that is happening and still love Jesus. We can live quite differently than the world and still love Jesus. Facing depression, fighting anxiety, living in fear, becoming overwhelmed – these do not mean you are not loving Jesus enough. It does not mean he does not love you. You can even find yourself feeling hopeless and still be loved immensely by Jesus. We can easily get the idea that following Jesus means we do not live in fear, do not have depression, do not battle anxiety, and do not feel hopeless. And this is simply not true. We may, indeed, find hope when we follow and love Jesus and allow him to love us. We may find joy in situations we thought impossible. But if we don’t, it doesn’t mean we aren’t loved. And it doesn’t mean we are doing something wrong. It means we are human. And that doesn’t exclude us from being loved by God. It doesn’t mean we are a bad Christian. It means we are real.
If you are struggling today, know that you are loved beyond measure. It may not take the pain away. It may not change your outlook. But I pray it opens up a part of you that allows you to know that you are okay. Christians struggle too – and that’s okay. You are not alone. Just keep moving forward – even if you have to crawl.
Romans 8:35, 37-39
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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