When the Ripples of Obedience to God Causes Others to Suffer

Have you ever thought about the suffering and discomfort that Jesus’ path of obedience to the cross…

Brought to the lives of others?

How sharp the pain must have been in Mary’s heart as she watched the nails being driven into the hands and feet of the Son she loved.

What confusion and despair the disciples went through when they saw their Rabbi falsely accused, arrested and crucified…all because He was betrayed by one of their own,

What about Simon the Cyrene, a stranger in the crowd?  He probably didn’t plan to be carrying a cross that day, yet that was exactly what happened. 

Strangers, friends and family.  

Each one faced a path of trouble and suffering…

As a result of Jesus’ path of obedience.  

Yet, these “not nice” outcomes that resulted  because Jesus chose to obey His Father, did not indicate that Jesus’ path was the wrong path or a bad path.

Rather, we know it was the path God had intended, planned and orchestrated before the beginning of time.  

As God, He could have orchestrated a path of redemption that did not cause Him or the other people in His life to suffer…

But, He didn’t.

I can’t help but wonder if some of the agony Jesus went through in the Garden was because in order to be obedient to His Father, whom He loved…

Others, whom He also loved, were going to suffer…

A lot.

Yet, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, so that by His death, those who believe in Him can live.

1. Peter 2:21 says that Jesus left is an example so that we can follow in His footsteps.

So, I shouldn’t be surprised when my decision to obey God and walk on the path He has set before me brings suffering to the lives of others…

But, it isn’t that simple, is it?

When my obedience to God causes others that I love deeply to suffer and upsets the lives of strangers…

Well…it’s not always easy to continue on that path.  

Especially, if my disobedience to God would alleviate their suffering.

But, how can I not obey the Shepherd of my soul whom I love above all else?

I remember one time in particular…

The path God had set before me to walk on was going to effect people close to me and others that I didn’t know…

And the effect in their lives was not going to be for their good…

At least that’s how it looked to me.  

I wrestled with many tears, and cried out to God, “How do I pray your will be done when my obedience is going to hurt others?”

Have you ever been in that place?  

As I knelt before God, He lovingly assured me that while the path He has set before me to walk on would have many ripples…

He was in control of those ripples, and He would use those ripples to accomplish His purposes in the lives of those people.  Not only that, His promises to me were also His promises to those people.

He had left me footsteps to follow. 

And I needed to do just that.

So, I stood up and took one step of obedience…

Followed by another…

Praying along the way for people – those I knew and those I didn’t know – whose lives were touched by the ripples of my decision… 

Trusting God to accomplish His work in all of our lives…

And asking Him to grant me courage to keep on going and to be obedient…

Even when it hurts.

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His footsteps.” 1. Peter 1:21