“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. – Matthew 10:34-39
I was shocked when I first read this scripture, and it took a long time before I could understand what it really meant. Because, from the surface, it appears to go against everything the gospel or the person of Jesus Christ stands for.
It is when I saw it happen in my life over and over again that the word began to take shape in my mind. You see, there is a point in my life when a shift happened within me. Some may say, it was too radical, but in my case, it was necessary. I was placed before life and before death and I chose life, no matter the cost.
Today, I am not shy to fight for what I believe in. I have lost possessions and opportunities. I have had people feel uncomfortable around me because of what I choose to stand for , and I have learned to understand that it is okay.
After all, when Christ died, only three remained. Truth is rarely in the approval of the masses. Am I perfect? Not at all. Am I claiming to be better than anyone? I don’t believe I have. Is the Lord rebuking me for my mistakes? Constantly. Yet, for the first time in a long time, I am beginning to experience peace that surpasses understanding. Today, situations and circumstances don’t hurt me like they used to. I will be down for a moment, but I will always get back on my feet and keep pressing forward. I am not surprised anymore when people betray, plant a knife in my back or even walk away, because I have learned that just like me, they are also on a journey.
It didn’t come easily, but I had to learn to see my environment always from the perspective that the same God who placed me there could also take me out with a snap of a finger. More importantly, I have learned to draw teachings from all my experiences, and God will many times allow certain situations to disintegrate beyond repairs so I can draw a message from it.
There was an earlier version of me. A version who was lost, without purpose, and just taking life as it came. But one day, God took over. God broke me and then brought me back. The old me died. I went through the valley of the shadow of death. I walked in the wilderness for many painful years, and the only thing that kept me was God’s unconditional love and transforming power.
So what am I trying to say? Everyone on this earth has a yearning. We may have it all, but there is always that feeling of unhappiness that we can not explain. I know it because I experienced it myself. The truth is what we are looking for cannot be found in friends, spouses, parents, jobs, money, or even children. The only One who can fill the thirst, the void, and heal our pain is Jesus. The only relationship that is worth investing heart, body, and soul is our relationship with Christ. Until the foundation is repaired, nothing else will make sense, and we will continue walking aimlessly.
God never brings a burning bush simply for the beauty of it. Everything around us is burning because God is trying to draw our attention. God is calling us now. Are we ready to answer?
Dr. Annick Adjei