“Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!’ -John 21:22

 

Many years ago at my junior high school we came together for a school-wide revival meeting. A visiting mission team led us in praise with the song, “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling”. I made my decision to follow Jesus in response to that tender invitation, “Come home, come home, Ye who are weary come home. Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling, O sinner, come home!” Since then, when I have been involved in ministry and have had to overcome hardships, I imagined the disciples who followed Jesus.

 

Of course I don’t compare myself and my small service for Jesus in my very comfortable environment to the first disciples two thousand years ago, but I have meditated deeply on the meaning of Jesus’ call to follow Him and how to do that. I often consider the condition of faithful brothers in labor camps in North Korea and many other places where Christians face persecution and martyrdom and ask myself, how would my faith be displayed if I were in their position? I have not suffered at the hands of others. My experience of suffering has centered on my struggle against cancer.

 

In 1 Corinthians 15:19, the apostle Paul states, “If we hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” Secular people look at my suffering through illness with pity and think how difficult it must be. What they can’t understand is that in my suffering I am experiencing the joy of looking toward eternity in obedience to Jesus’ voice calling, “Follow Me”. Following Jesus does not cause conflict or confusion for me, I am responding to a very simple command. I sense that I don’t have time to waste with a question like Peter’s about the Lord’s plan for a co-laborer, but must remain alert with my whole heart so as not to miss the Holy Spirit’s leading for my life.

 

God has given me insight through His word in 2 Corinthians 1:5, “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” Through this I know that whatever I suffer can be comfort to me because through this I may better understand the sufferings of Jesus for me. I praise my Creator God who has called me and provides me strength to follow the Lord Jesus.

 

Sooin Mimi Hughes

 

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