“And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’…And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’” Mark 10:17, 21
God’s calling on our heart to follow Him always looks a bit different from His calling to those around us. There are certain similarities in them, but the way He works in us, the ways He uses us, and the path He leads each of us on is unique and specifically chosen.
We may look around and wonder why He chose this for us. Why He chose to work through these circumstances when we wanted a different story. We see someone else’s life that looks preferable and wish God had chosen a bit differently. But what God is calling us to isn’t merely a set of challenges and difficulties. He calls us to joy. He calls us to hope and peace and abundant life. Those difficulties are just the pathway to them. “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5). All that we encounter and endure strengthes our character and builds our faith so that we see our God more clearly. As we see Him more clearly, our hope is more firmly planted in who He is and what He has done. We know His love because it abides in our heart. We rejoice because our God is faithful in and through each season of our lives.
Our Lord, in His infinite wisdom and understanding, has various reasons for the hard decisions and painful experiences we face. Shedding baggage and the damaging behaviors that hold us back. Reminding us to fix our eyes on the only One who truly satisfies. Setting our hope and faith in Him instead of basing them on things that will fail us and leave us empty. Strengthening our heart for the road ahead. Getting us in place for the opportunities He wants to put before us. Giving us the chance to show our faithfulness in small things so that He can give us greater circumstances in which to be faithful.
Whatever our path looks like, even if it is far different from the lives of those around us, it has a specific purpose for the glory of God. It has been chosen with intentionality and steadfast love. This is our story, each line faithfully written by the Father’s loving hand. He calls each of us to surrender everything. To let go of all we’ve been clinging to and hold fast only to Him. He wants us to know that He is the supreme treasure. That nothing else remotely compares. That when we have Christ, our heart’s desires are met in their purest form. Whatever our Lord needs to do to get us to this point of surrender, He will do. Because He loves us that much. Because He wants joy for us. Not a life that is as good as we can make it, one that will suffice. But rather a life that is abundant and filled with His glory. Why would we settle for less?