I've been pondering the interview with Bruce Jenner and many of the blogs and comments about it. Many celebrate him as a hero because he *did something* to alleviate his suffering. Now, supposedly, he can be an inspiration to many who struggle as he did.
I understand why some people applaud Bruce’s actions. Before I met Jesus, I solved things the only way I knew how: in my own strength and with my own understanding. I chased after whatever seemed right at the time to make myself happy.
As Christians, we should tell everyone about how Jesus helps us find true peace when we do things God’s way instead of following our human passions. And we should tell everyone about our enemy, the devil, whose mission is to steal, kill, and destroy all of us – lead us away from God – by getting us to chase after our own desires instead of denying ourselves and following Jesus.
Becoming Jesus’ disciple – obeying Him – has a price:
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Mark 8:34-36, NIV)
Rebellion – living our own way instead of God’s way – also has a price:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23, NIV)
Without Jesus, we are all lost and hopeless. With Jesus, we are secure, loved, and empowered to endure through struggles about identity, sexuality, insecure feelings, or whatever else happens. When we obey Jesus, we have joy, hope, and the peace that passes all understanding.
“Bruce, how painful has it been for you to feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body?”
“Very painful, and confusing. I don’t understand it; but I accept it.”
“What do you mean by “accept it?”
“I decided to wholeheartedly follow Jesus, and to believe what He says about who I am. I am His child, loved to the core just as I am. My identity is in Him, not in my feelings or my struggles.”
“So are your struggles and confusing feelings gone?
“No, not totally; some days are harder than others. But as I grow to know Jesus more deeply, I am filled with so much love that the struggles seem minor in comparison to what I’ve gained. When I’m confused or hurting, His joy and peace sustain me like nothing else I’ve ever tried.”
Not surgery, not acceptance by people, not popularity, not getting everything we want…and definitely not rebellion.
No one except Jesus can understand the depths of another person’s suffering. And no one except Jesus can provide sustaining hope in the midst of suffering.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5, NIV)
Are you burdened with struggles? Come to Jesus.