It’s great that we trust God. But we are also called to follow Christ. We can’t omit the cross and Christ. Dietrich Bonhoeffer states “Christianity without discipleship is Christianity without Christ.” As followers of Jesus we can’t dictate our own terms or decide what we are willing to do. We can’t write our own program to suit our whims and wants. We can’t limit our following to our comprehension.
In the Cost of Discipleship Dietrich Bonhoeffer shares the timeless advice God had shared with Martin Luther:
“Discipleship is not limited to what you can comprehend—it must transcend all comprehension. Plunge into the deep waters beyond your comprehension, and I will help you to comprehend even as I do. Bewilderment is the true comprehension. Not to know where you are going is the true knowledge. My comprehension transcends yours. Thus Abraham went forth from His father and not knowing whither he went. He trusted himself to my knowledge, and cared not for his own, and thus he took the right road and came to his journey’s end. Behold, that is the way of the cross. You cannot find it yourself, so you must let me lead you as though you were a blind man. Wherefore it is not you, no man, no living creature, but I myself, who instruct you by my Word and Spirit in the way you should go. Not the work which you choose, not the suffering you devise, but the road which is clean contrary to all you choose or contrive or desire—that is the road you must take. To that I call you and in that you must be my disciple.” (Bonhoeffer 1995, 93, emphasis added)
Jesus calls us to pick up our own cross and lay down our lives at the Master’s disposal. It’s not going to be just fun and games. We are asked to follow even though we don’t comprehend. Sometimes we are asked to step outside of our comfort zones. Sometimes we are asked to kiss our fears on the mouth. But just like the fairytale princess who reluctantly kissed the frog we are going to be blessedly surprised.
Our fears are transformed.
Our lives are transformed.
Our faith is transformed.
The benefits of discipleship are out of this world. But it does not mean that we would not be bid to die on a daily basis. It does not mean there would not be suffering involved. But it does mean that this life is not all that there is.
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. (Job 19.25, NIV)
It also means that who loses his life for Christ, will gain so much more. Radical trust leads into discipleship beyond comprehension. Grace and more grace. Love and more love. Life and more life.
Forgive us for thinking
we should understand your ways.
Your ways are not our ways.
Your thinking is not our thinking.
We surrender to you.
Lead us, guide us, direct our paths!
Give us strength and courage
to follow without comprehension.
May Thy will be done!
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Have you followed Jesus beyond comprehension? Was it worth it?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you go wherever God leads you!
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/The Frog Prince by Paul Meyerheim, 1889