Following Jesus assures a person that they will experience trouble and hardship, persecution and pain. In John 16, Jesus spends time teaching His disciples about the troubles to come as well as comforting them, “”I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”” (John 16:33 ESV) Not only has Jesus overcome the world, but He invites those who follow Him to exchange our burden for His. Perhaps we might imagine that the burden of the King of Kings is too much for us to bear. Many things in the Lord’s eyes different from our presuppositions, this is no exception. In Matthew 11, Jesus Himself explains, “”Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)
“Come,” is a theme throughout scripture. Often it references the thirsty coming to God for living water. All humans have thirsted like the Samaritan woman at the well recorded in John 4. She thirsted for water so she went to the town well. She also desired peace, so she went at the hottest part of the day when she knew she would be alone from judgmental eyes. There were things about her life that were shameful and she didn’t want that kind of attention. That day she met Jesus. He knew everything about her and wanted to save her from her sinful life. He desired to give her such water that would cleanse and quench her thirst. She wouldn’t need to continue running to man after man in an attempt to fulfill her deepest longings. Finally, she would follow Jesus and her heart would find rest from her burden of sin. Would all her other troubles melt away? No. Jesus told those who followed Him that they would have trouble! The world would hate them (even as it hated Jesus). There would be trials. Charles Spurgeon stated it well, “From the first moment of your spiritual life until you are ushered into glory, the language of Christ to you will be, "Come, come unto me." As a mother puts out her finger to her little child and woos it to walk by saying, "Come," even so does Jesus. He will always be ahead of you, bidding you follow him as the soldier follows his captain. He will always go before you to pave your way, and clear your path, and you shall hear his animating voice calling you after him all through life; while in the solemn hour of death, his sweet words with which he shall usher you into the heavenly world shall be—"Come, ye blessed of my Father."
So, is Christianity a crutch? If a crutch is something a person needs when they are weak and injured or in trouble, then in a way, yes. No one ever disparaged little Tiny Tim in Dickens’ Christmas Carol from needing a crutch or even catching a ride on his father’s back. We need help through this thing called life. Christianity is the name given by humans for a religion that follows Christ. Those who follow Jesus could be called Christians, but we have a relationship—not a mindless one-sided meaningless interaction. This relationship with the Creator of the universe, Who was born as a baby, lived as a perfect man, sacrificed Himself for our sins and rose from the dead is vital! Now His Spirit lives in us and gives us peace and hope. In spite of the troubles I face, I can certainly take heart because Jesus is with me!