Harsh words. So often we avoid the difficult parts of the gospel, but there is no avoiding Jesus' stark words here. We can try and explain it away; "Oh...but Jesus doesn't really mean that, he is just talking in hyperbole." That may be so to a certain degree, but there is no escaping the fact that sometimes, or often, the Christian life is not fun. Jesus asks us to carry our crosses, whatever they may be. We may be asked to suffer persecution, to live away from our homes for the gospel, to bear a sickness with His grace, to lose face and forgive a relative for hurting us, to give up the hope of a relationship. The list is endless and peculiar to each person. As Christians we are tempted to skirt further round this and declare that this is wonderfully joyful, to suffer for Christ. But suffering is suffering. Jesus was not joyful in the garden of Gethsamane or when he cried out to God on the cross in the most unbearable agony. Our joy will come however. It is set before us in heaven and we do well to focus on it. Let's pray for grace to bear all for Him, and the eyes to see some light at the end of that tunnel.