Please think for just one second about how much money you or someone else is paying for you to attend the prestigious Oklahoma Baptist University. Now, shift your attention the glorious meals that we get to enjoy every day in our school cafeteria, the fact that we do not have pest problems (ants and rats) in the dorms, the very low priced items in the campus store, and the amazing quality of our student identification cards.
I could urge you all to take a stand: protest against Aramark, camp outdoors until the pest problems are fixed, write letters to the president about the c-store extortion, and campaign for more aesthetic, and better quality, student cards. I am not sure that we are getting everything we are paying for aside from a great education from one of the most prestigious post-secondary schools in America.
Might I ask you to think again before any sort of conclusion is drawn? Think about the price you pay to be a Christian. At one point, I hope, you surrendered your entire life. Now, shift you attention to how extravagantly happy you are at every moment, the fact that you never suffer in any way, the overwhelming sense of exactly who our Creator is at the most basic level, and the vast politico-friendliness (favor from the current government) that you receive as a Christian.
Does it even slightly seem like we may have the short end of some metaphorical stick? We give our lives away so that we can suffer, be unhappy, still not know everything about God, and not be politically correct?
Perhaps we have been trained to look for promises that do not exist: “The only way you can be happy in life is to have Jesus,” “Jesus doesn’t care haw bad you are,” “God will save you from your troubles in this life.” Perhaps we are hoping, as early Jews did, for a messiah that is somehow concerned with trivial, worldly ideas. Despite what our reasons might be for searching out what has become our reason for trusting Christ, I do believe that Jesus Christ did make one promise that is relevant to our lives here on the earth.
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NIV)
What does this promise entail? I believe that Jesus, while talking about His ‘sheep’, revealed the answer to that question.
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV)
Jesus makes the promise that He will always be with His disciples. His disciples made more disciples. Those disciples made more disciples. You and I are a product of that work and are, today, disciples. This means that Jesus is also with us! This is the promise we have before we enter into eternity!
Jesus did not promise that we would always be happy. He did not promise that we would not suffer. He did not promise that we would know everything, and He did not promise that following Him would be correct according to any society or government. What does it mean that Christ is always with us?
It means we have the capacity to experience life to the fullest! Take a few moments to think about Psalm 23. David declares that the Lord prepares a table before him in the presence of his enemies. Wait! The enemies are still there? Yes, and we will still have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Though we go through these things, God places before us a cup that is overflowing: an infinitely satisfying drink for the infinite desires of our mind and soul! We can choose to rely on God to fulfill our desires. That is what it is like to drink from a cup that is overflowing. Our eternal life begins here, on the earth.
Stop complaining about what you deserve, and I will do the same. God calls us to suffer for His name. He calls the entire Body to mourn for the troubles of just one soul. Jesus warned that the world would hate us for the relationship that we live out. Christ is sufficient, and more than efficient for those who choose to drink from the overflowing cup that He provides. Rely on Christ. Carry your cross. Live completely satisfied despite the surrounding circumstances.