Even When

I can’t really remember what we were talking about or how we even got to talking about “being a disciple” and following Jesus (kinda like I have no clue how we get to talking about monsters with five eyes that can’t eat through walls and about bums that talk), but I’m glad we got to where we got, even if it stung a bit.

“Mommy, is following Jesus kinda like playing ‘Follow the Leader?’ 

Tears pooled in my weary eyes.

I wanted to ignore him, pretend I didn’t hear him, change the subject, get up and move rooms, wash the curtains, organize the toy bins, exercise, tweeze my eyebrows, jump off a building (anything really), but I didn’t want to answer his question.

Why?

Because I didn’t want to give credence to his comparison, and I didn’t want to admit what my heart has been struggling to accept.

Because if I’m being 137% honest, I don’t always like the expectations that come with the game of “Follow the Leader.” I tend to prefer the game called, “Follow the Leader When It Suits You.”

And those rules go something like this.

You must follow the leader at all times EXCEPT WHEN…you feel unsafe, or when you don’t like the leader’s timing, or when you don’t agree with the leader, or when you’d rather do your own thing, or when you’d rather take another path, or when you’d rather follow another leader, or when you feel uncomfortable, or when your leader frustrates you, or when you have any other moment where you disagree and/or doubt what the leader is doing and where the leader is going.

Yeah, I like those rules a lot better.

Why?

Because those rules give me “outs” and exceptions; they give me control and autonomy; and they give me authority and power, and I like that…a lot.

Bottom line: The game of “Follow the Leader When It Suits You” allows me to be the leader anytime I feel like I don’t want to follow. 

But that’s not what God asks of us when He calls us to follow Him…no, that’s not what He asks.

He asks us to follow even when the path is shaky and the light is dim.

He asks us to follow even when the timing is unexpected and the probability is unlikely.

He asks us to follow even when the journey is long and the outcome is unknown.

He asks us to follow even when the map is lost and the direction is confusing.

He asks us to follow even when the walk is lonely and the course is overwhelming.

He asks us to follow even when the cost is steep and the surrender is hard.

See, when we choose to follow God and make Him our leader, there aren’t any “EXCEPT WHEN” rules, only “EVEN WHEN” moments. 

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself [deny his right to control and deny his right to lead] and take up his cross and follow me.’ ” Matthew 16:24

I knew I had to give credence to my little boy’s comparison, not because it’s an easy comparison to embrace, but because it’s true, and good, and holy.

“Well, buddy, I guess I’ve never thought about it like that, but I guess you’re right. Following Jesus is a whole lot like playing ‘Follow the Leader.’ “

Down in the valley with my Savior I will go,

Where the flow’rs are blooming and the sweet waters flow;

Everywhere He leads me I will follow, follow on,

Walking in His footsteps till the crown be won.

Follow! Follow! I will follow Jesus!

Anywhere, everywhere, I will follow on!

Follow! Follow! I will follow Jesus!

Everywhere He leads me I will follow on!

Down in the valley with my Savior I will go,

Where the storms are sweeping and the dark waters flow;

With His hand to lead me I will never, never fear,

Danger cannot fright me if my Lord is near.

Follow! Follow! I will follow Jesus!

Anywhere, everywhere, I will follow on!

Follow! Follow! I will follow Jesus!

Everywhere He leads me I will follow on!

Down in the valley, or upon the mountain steep,

Close beside my Savior will my soul ever keep;

He will lead me safely in the path that He has trod,

Up to where they gather on the hills of God.

Follow! Follow! I will follow Jesus!

Anywhere, everywhere, I will follow on!

Follow! Follow! I will follow Jesus!

Everywhere He leads me I will follow on!

-William O. Cushing

Oh, Lord…take away our need for control, so we can follow you with absolute abandon and complete surrender.  

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One thought on “Even When

  1. I love your list of “even whens.” So many of those apply to my life, and it’s a reminder that God knows what He’s asking of us when He asks us to follow “even when.” So if He asks us to follow “even when” He knows it will be hard, there must be a good reason. He doesn’t do things “just because.” I suppose the reason is that His reasons are good, and HE is good, so “even when” it’s hard to follow, it’s still safe to do so, because He is leading and loving us through it, and following “even when” gets us closer to Him. Thanks for this reminder.

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