This past year, my husband & I were presented with a ministry opportunity. His first reaction was “YES!” I, however, responded a bit differently – in complete disgust.
Finally, I said yes.
But that is only because I’ve learned over the years that saying no to God never turns out well.
Now we are just waiting. Waiting for the door to either open wide, or slam in our faces. This waiting has put our hearts in a little limbo. The thoughts dance around my head quite regularly…
“You’d make more money if…”
“You would be a lot happier if…”
“Your kids would have a better life if…”
And the saddest part is, I have listened to those thoughts! Almost to the point of wanting to say no to God again.
Last Sunday, the Pastor was talking about Noah. He spent near 100 years of his life building this massive boat in a place where it didn’t really rain. His whole family had to suffer the consequences (I’m sure) of their decisions & actions that didn’t make sense to anyone around them.
Noah’s faith & willingness to say yes, when maybe he didn’t even think it was a good idea, saved every living species from extinction.
I’ve been pondering that a lot since that day, & really thinking about what it means to say yes to God when it’s far from the “desire of your heart”.
Do I actually trust God?
Am I willing to give up my selfish pursuits, desires & ideas about my future to follow his will?
Is it possible that God has a far better idea of what should be done with my life than I ever could come up with?
If there is anything I’ve learned about God from reading the Bible, watching him work in others lives, & seeing the patterns in my own life… it’s that God doesn’t make any sense.
At least not in our little brains.
We are so far removed from his vision. We are like little ants, while he is a skyscraper. We are just children, and we don’t know why our dad is asking us to do things that aren’t any fun.
But he sees the big picture & he knows what is going to turn out far more magnificent in the long run for all involved.
This morning, I started to read The Merged Gospels. When I got to the part of the story when Mary says yes to God…something hit me.
Over the years, I think I’ve become numb to the story of “baby Jesus”. The Gospel is so important, yet somehow I’ve shut out the story from capturing my heart because I know it so well. (I’ll try to remember that problem for another rant.)
Mary. About 12-14 years old, engaged to a good man, & following God with her entire heart.
So God picks her.
By choosing to carry the Son of God in her womb, she was risking the loss of her husband, her family, her reputation, & quite literally her life (adultery = stoning).
She could have said no. By accepting God’s request, she was also accepting all of the things that would change in her life & how it would affect all that was yet to come.
She could have had a “perfect” future ahead of her. After all, she had done everything right. Instead, she chose to say yes to turning her life upside down. She chose to throw away the things she had accomplished in order to accomplish a purpose so much bigger than herself.…and aren’t you glad she did?
What blew my mind this morning, beyond Mary just saying yes, was the attitude behind the response. She could have said yes & been aggravated for six months about the whole situation.
But Mary was a different kind of woman than I.
After the angel leaves her, Mary rushes to her cousin Elizabeth’s house (I’m assuming the only person she felt would believe her at the moment). I’m sure they had some good talks and that Elizabeth was a huge source of comfort & words of truth for young Mary.
Luke 1:46-55 gives us a glimpse into Mary’s heart right after talking with the angel. She & Elizabeth are together. I wonder if they were praying, worshipping, or just talking. But I do not see even a glimmer of anger, resentment or fear in Mary’s words. What I see is total abandonment to the will of God.
“My soul magnifies the Lord, & my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, because He looked on the lowliness of His maidservant. For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty did great things to me, and His name is holy. And His mercy is unto generations & generations, to those fearing Him. He does mightily with His arm.”
I don’t know what God has in store for our future. Saying yes doesn’t always mean that it will happen. But I want my heart to be in it. I want my heart to delight in following God, not just grudgingly complying because I know that’s the right thing to do.
Lord, help me to trust that you see more than I do…that you have ideas so big, magnificent & wonderful that I could never imagine them. Help me to believe & expect that you have more in store than what I have already experienced of you. Help me to believe that you are capable of crazy, new, wild things. Give me the strength to give up my selfish desires & to find joy in experiencing what you have for me & my family. ‘Not by might, not by power, but by your spirit.‘ (Zech. 4:6) Amen.
“When I think of all this, I fall to my knees & pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven & on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down in God’s love & keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, & how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life & power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church & in Christ Jesus through all generations forever & ever! Amen.”
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