All of us feel sad at some point – even people who are usually happy most of the time. Usually though for most people there will be some understandable reason for it. This might include the loss of a loved one, a certain disappointment, an accident, or sympathy for someone. This kind of sadness is temporary. But there is a kindness of sadness that lingers which leaves a person drained, teary, thinking dark thoughts, and feeling desperately lonely. This is usually when we consider someone is experiencing ‘depression’ and it is one of those things that Christians find difficult to admit to or even talk about.
Please don’t tell her, but when I was able to go bush-walking with Kim, I was able to experience what Christ commanded His first disciples to do, and what the first disciples would then go on to describe as they exhorted others to follow Christ as well. When Christ told His disciples, “Come! Follow Me!” He was telling His disciples, that Christianity was never merely going to be an event – like joining a church, filling out a ‘Decision Card’, or merely ticking a Question Box on a Census Form! Rather, following Christ was going to require, walking, tracking, listening, serving, watching, learning, and keeping up. After Christ ascended victorious back to His Father and Glory, the Disciples would describe Christianity as “a walk”. And if you have embarked on this walk, you will have come to know that this spiritual walk with Christ involves twists and turns, ascents and descents, obstacles, and adverse weather. But most commonly, walking with Christ involves overcoming the temptation to stand still – or worse still, to keep going while looking back.
Following Christ is a wonderful adventure. Like any adventure, the things that make this journey so exciting are the twists and turns, the mountains and the valleys, the beautiful scenery, the walks with companions, the times of solitude, the feasting, the battles, the storms, and the pursuit of our mission. It also requires what any long trek requires – lightening our packs. Thus, the New Testament describes following Christ as a walk and it’s a walk that involves a lot of putting off.