The first several weeks of Eastertide are full of stories of the resurrection; joyful stories of the disciples being reunited with their friend and teacher. Then the tone shifts, and we find ourselves hearing about what it means to have eternal life in Jesus.
Many of us renewed our baptismal vows at Easter; some made those vows for the first time. Being born into new life with Jesus is exciting and invigorating; it is hopeful and joyful and awesome. For those who have made these vows, it may seem like the most clearly ‘right’ decision we have ever made.
Discipleship, however, is not always so easy! We may find ourselves with doubts and uncertainties; questions about what God wants us to do… the word “discernment” may appear more times in our lives than we wish it would. We may wish that God had left us with a clearer manual than Jesus’ parables and questions answered with more questions.
I think, though, it is good to be reminded that when choosing to follow Christ, we have not left our free will (or our brain!) behind, nor does God expect us to. There is more than one ‘right’ path, and even when we take wrong turns – which we will – we are never lost for good. The joy of living in Christ isn’t that life is made easy. It is that life is made meaningful as we grow more deeply into the image and love of Christ.
That doesn’t mean we can’t pray for guidance (we should!) but prayer is more than just having questions answered: prayer is where we intentionally invite a deeper relationship with the God who knows and loves us. Prayer is where God takes our intentions and transforms them into something much more beautiful than we could ever imagine. Prayer is where our own hearts become more like God’s than we could ever manage on our own. This is discipleship; this is everlasting life.