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Choose Your Hard

Updated: Dec 22, 2023


The Alpena News

APR 29, 2023


Everyday Faith

There’s a common inspirational quote that starts with the title “Choose Your Hard.”

In that quote, stark contrasts are made about choices we make in life: Marriage is hard, but so is divorce. Being obese is hard, but so is staying fit. Communication is hard, but so is not communicating … and the list goes on.

By the time you read this, Easter Sunday will have passed. The excitement, enthusiasm, and the fervor for all the traditions we now have for that sacred holiday will have been met with everyday life. We will have gone from the pinnacle of celebrating the Christian faith to a world that now openly challenges Christianity as a whole.

But we’re certainly not the first to experience such a drastic swing.

Can you imagine the emotional turmoil that each of the disciples experienced by having walked with Christ through the crucifixion? In a week’s time, they saw people celebrating who they believed was to be their king by laying down palm branches in front of him and then the same mob of people had shown their fickleness by cheering the Roman guards on as Jesus was tortured, mocked, and scorned. They tried to humiliate Jesus and mocked him all the way up the hill to Galgotha.

And the disciples watched their leader navigate corruption through religious and political systems who were threatened by him. And they watched his steadfastness in knowing what was to come and the proper timing for it, offering forgiveness to those who didn’t deserve it.

The disciples had witnessed it all as the week progressed.

Some hid from what was going on to watch from afar, and others hovered closely, but, when push came to shove, they tried to save themselves rather than standing up for Jesus in the midst of the angry mob.

Each of their lives had experienced an incredible swing. But, just as they thought the story was over, Jesus’s resurrection from the grave sparked another unexpected swing.

The disciples experienced every ounce of this, and, with Jesus’ ascension, they had a choice to make.

How do they then live their lives?

Do they go back to their lives before they came to know Christ, or do they carry forward the message of hope that they had received through his sacrifice for them?

To a man, each one of them had to choose their “hard.”

To return to their normal life before they met Christ would mean denying Jesus and everything that they had learned from him over the course of their three years together. To make that choice would leave them unfulfilled and laden with guilt. How could one just simply go back to what they were before and pretend that none of it ever happened?

But the other “hard” would be to choose to continue sharing the gospel of Christ in the midst of people who had already proven themselves to be fickle and self-serving. That life would require them to move around, to talk with people they had never met before, to sacrifice the comforts of a job, their family, and trades they had learned as young men.

They had to choose their hard.

And, to a man, every single one of them chose to further the gospel of Christ. In their heart of hearts, they knew what they had seen and couldn’t be content with returning to their previous life. They had been changed and felt compelled to share the change that they had experienced.

Eventually, the disciples scattered to share their news with people all over the region. Some traveled to Turkey, some to Greece, some to Russia, some to Africa, some to Persia, some to the Caspian Sea. It was a hard life they chose.

How much of an impact did Christ make on their lives?

The kind of impact where they chose to be martyred, rather than deny their faith in Christ.

Their conviction was so deeply seated that every one of them made the same decision in different locations at different times. Their faith was strong.

As we resume our daily lives, we, too, are confronted with decisions to make about how we live. Do we carry our faith in Christ with us in everything we do? Or do we just respond like the mob who celebrated one week and denied him the next?

We too have to choose our hard.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” — John 3:17 (NIV).

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