Sometimes God asks difficult things of us. God might ask a shy person to talk to someone they wouldn’t normally talk to. God may move your family from the church you grew up in to a new church. God may even ask us to move to a place where we don’t know anyone. We know everything God does is for the good of those who love Him, but sometimes the things He asks us to do are hard.
When it seems like God is asking me to do something that I don’t think I can handle, I turn to Matthew 4, beginning in verse 18. This section of Matthew describes the calling of Jesus’ first four disciples: Peter, Andrew, James and John.
Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed Him (Matthew 4:18-20).
Jesus saw Peter and Andrew, told them to follow him and they dropped everything to follow after Him.
Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father; mending their nets; and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father; and followed Him (Matthew 4:21-22).
Again, as soon as Jesus calls to James and John they leave everything, even their father, to follow.
The thing that stands out to me the most in these verses however, is the word “immediately.” None of these four disciples hesitated. Peter and Andrew were in the middle of fishing–they had just cast a fishing net into the water. Jesus called them and they left their net in the water and went after Jesus. James and John were sitting in their boat with their dad fixing their nets. They didn’t even stop to think about what they were leaving behind; they just got up and followed Jesus.
These men left everything and everyone they’d ever known to go where Jesus was going. All they knew when they left their lives behind was that they wanted to be wherever Jesus was. They wanted to be part of whatever God was doing and nothing in their lives was more important than that.
Sometimes I still argue and drag my feet when God asks me to do something hard. Instead of dropping everything to follow God and see what He’s about to do, I whine and complain about the things He is asking me to leave behind.
It’s hard to follow God with the heart of a disciple. They didn’t know where they were going, but they followed Jesus anyway. They saw things that we may never see in our lifetimes, but imagine all the great miracles of God we could experience if we learn to follow God without hesitation and with the heart of a disciple.
Has there been a time when God asked you to do something hard in order to follow Him? What did you do?
Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me’ (Matthew 16:24).