The happy Christian group were in good voice as they sang the chorus line of the hymn, ‘I have decided to follow Jesus’. I wondered if they all really fully understood what following Jesus really entails.

Actually, Jesus answered this question Himself, for in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus is quoted as saying, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me”.

To me, this seems we must take on board those nasty things that happen to us which tend to make our lives difficult at times. Things such as pain, soreness, sickness, worry and grief could well be seen as God’s will for us. For when we say The Lord’s Prayer, don’t we ask The Father that ‘His will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.

Yet in accepting difficult times, maybe Jesus is saying to us that in ‘taking up our cross’ we are remembering Him and what He has done for us. Sure, life wasn’t meant to be easy, but then Jesus also said that He ‘came that we should have life and experience it to the full’.

By experiencing the good with the bad and the difficult, we can also be very aware that at the Last Supper Jesus gave us ‘The New Covenant’. This was a promise that He would be with us for all time.

It is my belief that perhaps when the going gets rough and despair sets in, our God is suffering along with us constantly by our side. This will enable us to draw on His strength and resilience through a prayer for help and healing.

As we experience His love, it makes acceptance of the hard times so much easier to accept. It allows us to remember the hymn’s chorus line where we can once more ‘make the decision to follow Jesus’.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith

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