~For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” (Luke 14:28-30)~
It would be foolish for one to decide to build a house without the financial means to see the endeavor all the way through. Likewise, it is equally foolish for one to consider being a Christian without considering all of what that means.
As someone who has grown up in the church, knows all the Christianese there is to know and can put on a passionate worship display that would rival even the most devout, I find it curious that I never actually considered the cost of Christianity until I became an adult. Maybe because as a child and teenager, the decision was already kind of made for me, being raised in a Christian home and all. That’s just what you do—follow after your parents and don’t question it because they’re wiser, they love you, and have your best interest at heart, right? Following God seemed so much easier when I was 15, as opposed to 25. Maybe because, now, the stakes are higher. Or maybe because I have autonomy and can make decisions on my own. Whatever the reason, I find myself in an interesting place of discovering what saying “yes” to God actually means.
Prime example: It’s been almost two months since I said yes to God (again) and for the past few days, I have found myself wrestling with this reality: In this life, God owes me absolutely nothing. Meanwhile, I, a finite being, owe him everything. We who have dropped our sinful nature to pick up our crosses (see? church jargon) are not promised easy, comfortable lives, or even good paying, full-time jobs. The only things that are certain are that God’s love is endless, boundless, and powerful and that we will suffer while we live this finite existence.
I am ashamed to admit this but I have wondered if God was worth it or not? Is an invisible Being who is powerful enough to destroy His entire handiwork with water worth being submitted to if He willingly comes down to a tiny speck in a giant galaxy to save His people from themselves and gives them a love that many deemed worthy of their own death? Is it worth it to completely surrender to a God who knows the depth of pain, even if one lives in poverty or experiences life’s worst hardships? Is He worth it if I don’t get the job I want, or if He never, in this lifetime, completely heals me of cerebral palsy or PTSD or anxiety or depression? Is He worth it if I lose everything and everyone I love?
I’d like to say “yes” 100 percent of the time, but I’d be lying if I did that, and I’d rather not do that you, dear Reader. I am a fickle being with unstable emotions. Most of the time, and only by His grace, is my answer “yes.” His manuscript instructs us not to waver in faith, but I do sometimes, especially when life gets hard, and life is hard right now. Nonetheless, my heart, deceitful though it may be at times, belongs to Him. I think counting the cost of Christianity is not a one-time event, but a process. When I feel myself wavering, I remind myself of Job, which I’m currently studying, or of past experiences of His kindness and love (like the fire pit experience). The cost of saying yes to God is a great one, but I’m willing to pay the price because the value of what I get in return is much greater than I ever anticipated.