“Been there! Done that! Bought the tee-shirt!” should be the slogan printed on shirts worn by apostles.
Because the phrase aptly describes the apostles’ journeys into their callings and throughout the length of their callings.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4)
As a young Christian, I remember another believer saying to me in a hushed, reverent whisper, “You know, that person is called to be an apostle.”
How awesome! I thought at the time.
To be honest, I was flabbergasted at how glamorous the word apostle sounded to my ears. It seemed to be the height of the Christian pyramid. The top hierarchal rung. The creme de la creme of callings.
Of course, I was naive and had no understanding of callings at all, and especially that of an apostle. But since then, I’ve studied and learned a few things.
You see, the apostle is specifically prepared and trained ahead of time by the Lord to help the Body of Christ journey through treacherous, tough times before they take place.
How does the Lord prepare His servants – the apostles?
If your guess is that the training is carried out in nicely lit, air-conditioned rooms while sitting comfortably on soft cushions and listening to qualified lecturers at an ivy-towered university overlooking a quaint village, then I have bad news for you. You’re wrong!
For each apprentice apostle candidate, the Lord has specially designed circumstances which will simulate the treacherous, tough times which awaits the Body sometime in the future. These circumstances come filled to the brim with frustration, stress, and humiliation.
The apostle candidates are sort of like dirty clothes shoved into a gigantic automatic washer, going through one desperate, ruinous cycle after another. The candidates’ heads are held under the water most of the time, with a few short breathing breaks between dunks.
All of this continues until they are finally rinsed and brought out to dry. This may take years, but along the way, many will drop out of the program to sit on the sidelines.
Now, while this divinely orchestrated training is happening, the rest of the Body of Christ looks on and scratches their heads. “What’s wrong with those losers? Why don’t they get with the program? They don’t seem to have a clue about faith,” they murmur to each other.
But when the treacherous, tough times hit a nation, it will be these losers – the apprentice candidates – who will step forth as apostles and confidently proclaim: “I know that our God will bring us through these bad times. Just follow me because I have discovered the correct path for us to walk on.”
(Continued in Part 7…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)