William Booth was a Methodist minister in Britain and founder of the Salvation Army in 1865. He had a passion for helping the poor in the name of Christ. One of his biographers tells of the day when the general was in his eighties. He was ill and had been to see a doctor. His son, Bramwell, after talking with the physician regarding his father’s health, had to tell him that he would soon be blind.
Upon hearing the news, Booth asked, “You mean that I am going blind?” His son, Bramwell, responded, “Well, General, I fear that we must contemplate that.” He, along with the family, had always addressed their father by that affectionate name. There was a pause while Booth thought over what he had been told. And then the father asked the son, “I shall never see your face again?”
“No, probably not in this world,” was the son’s reply. The biographer writes, “During the next few moments the veteran’s hand crept along the counterpane to take hold of his son’s, and holding it he said very calmly, ‘God must know best!’ And after another pause, ‘Bramwell, I have done what I could for God and for the people with my eyes. Now I shall do what I can for God and for the people without my eyes.’”
As I think about that story I am inspired by William Booth’s faith and deep spiritual character. So many people who call themselves “Christian” today are willing to follow Jesus as long as everything stays calm and happy. Our tendency is to try to follow Jesus and gain the benefits of that relationship without having to deny ourselves or give anything in return. We’re so obsessed with being comfortable that we’re unwilling to follow Jesus when our circumstances are uncomfortable…or we whine and complain about it.
In Mark 12:30 Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” And in Luke 9:23 Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Apparently Jesus expects us to stay committed to him and his church no matter how we feel, either good or bad. One sign of spiritual maturity is when you continue walking in God’s grace serving others even when your life becomes uncomfortable.
Working together with you to stay faithful to Jesus,