Different bird species have distinctive style of nests, where they lay their eggs and raise their offspring. Woodpeckers have some of the sturdiest homes. It takes them between 2 and 4 weeks to chisel out a brood chamber and line it with woodchips. But then they have a very protected shelter against the elements and many predators that could go after them.
This is the kind of settled security that many of us look for. But Jesus makes it clear that neither He Himself nor His followers could count on the comfortable and idyllic one family dwelling with the white picket fence to raise their children. When a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matt.8:20).
He also asked people to count the cost of discipleship before following Him (in Lk.14):
“25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ 31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”
In Matt.24:9 He goes even further than that by stating that “then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”
The early church did not promise a bed of roses either. In Acts 14:22 we read that they were “strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.” And the Thessalonians experienced these “many afflictions”, as well (1.Thes.3:3f). Paul states it completely unambiguously in 2.Tim.3:12: “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”.
Physical safety and a sheltered life is an illusion in this fallen world.
We don’t hear much of that in today’s prosperity gospel infected preaching. That’s why we are unprepared for the struggles that we will inevitably face.
Jesus faced extremely uncomfortable conditions: foxes and birds had it better than He. And as followers of Christ we will experience the same adversities. Jesus asked His followers to remember “that a servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (Jn.15:20).
Life is tough.
The world under the influence of Satan is an inhospitable place.
We will get attacked and hurt.
But Jesus gives us hope by contrasting our present sorrowful experience with a time in the future in Jn.16:22:
“Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”
The old serpent may kill the body, but life with Jesus is eternal.
As Martin Luther expressed so powerfully in the hymn “A Mighty Fortress"
1 A mighty fortress is our God,
We are a pastoral couple named Stefan & Heidi König. We have many years of experience in various ministries, and are thankful that God has given us this property to use as a way to bless others who need a place to relax and reconnect with Him.
Kingfisher Spiritual Direction
Direct your heart to Jesus and restore your soul. If you need to hear from God, to grow deeper with Him, consider spiritual direction. An ancient discipline of soul care, Heidi is trained to prayerfully lead you in this practice.