Following Jesus into Trouble

I don’t know what I expected to read in a chapter about hedonism, but I know I didn’t expect pages about Jesus as a troublemaker. However, the shock value of the point makes it stick. After telling the story of Jesus healing the demoniac in Mark 5, Vince Vitale said the following:

I imagine there were a lot of days like this for those who hung out with Jesus—days when Jesus didn’t go looking for His own pleasure but went looking for other people’s hurt. He went looking for trouble because it was in the place of trouble that God had work to do; it was in the place of trouble that healing needed to take place.

A couple pages later Vince made it personal.

God is a troublemaker. He goes looking for trouble and He asks His followers to go looking for trouble with Him. So what trouble is He calling you into, in order to be His agent of healing?

  • How is God calling you to die to yourself this week?
  • How can you bring healing into a place of hurt?
  • Is God inviting you to enter trouble with Him?
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When I posted these questions two weeks ago, I missed a crucial element. I focused on the how, but I missed the why.

Sometimes when we enter trouble with God, it doesn’t seem to do any good. I pour my heart into a ministry and see no fruit. My life is troubled, and I wonder why. Is God pruning me? Is He just trying to make me a better person? At times I wish He wouldn’t bother.

But then I thought of Philippians 3:7-11 (ESV).

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

The Christian life isn’t about accomplishing jobs for God or becoming perfect people. It’s about knowing Christ.

True knowledge requires a depth of experience. Many of my friends don’t really know me. They’ve never walked through my boring days with me. They don’t know the pain I carry in my heart. But God knows, and He wants me to know Him, so He says to me, “Jen, I’m walking through trouble today. Do you want to walk with Me?”

How can I say no to that?