Have you ever held out hands to God, and offered Him your life?
What conditions did you attach? What pieces did you stash away, hoping God would not touch?
I’ve been saying, anything Lord, I will do whatever you want.
But please, please, please don’t do this…or that.
Or I’ve been afraid to say anything, Lord. In my life, I’ve watched friends move to far-away lands to serve God and struggle hard. I’ve also watched friends love what I could never imagine loving. I’ve put arms around loved ones who mourned the loss of a baby, said goodbye to a friend, a Mama, who died far too young, listened to servants of Jesus recount suffering, and witnessed the stress of serving the poor and loving hard people.
And I’ve been afraid. I don’t want all that. My life has been easy—I mean, this life is so good, do we really want to mess that up?
We’ve had good health, we have four amazing kids, we’ve never struggled to make ends meet. We have great friends, who we love having in our home, and when younger, I would have called this house we live in a mansion. We even have family close by…rare for young families in this area. There have been difficulties, yes, but overall, my life causes me to say, Really, God? I have done nothing to deserve all this!
And that’s true, I have done nothing to deserve this. As if we all deserve to be right where we are in life. As if our missionary friends “deserve” to get sick and have unfulfilled needs and people stealing from them. As if anyone deserves to lose a child, or a Mommy. As if I deserved a good life, but my friend deserved a hard life. As if we all deserve to eat fancy recipes and shop at our favorite stores, while they deserve to wear rags and have tummies swolen with hunger.
It’s a distortion of God to think we are all just getting what we deserve. To think because we have done things right, we deserve good stuff. Or when suffering comes, it’s our payback. In our life, we try to do right, but the closer we get to Jesus, the more we see how sinful we are. You can see, from my thoughts above, what a wretched lover of self I am. I don’t want to mess up my good life, even if it means someone with little could have. Oh, yes, I’ll give to them, at least some. As long as I still have “enough”.
If we were given life based on what we deserve, my life would look entirely different and so would my hope for the future.
But this idea of offering anything to God, it still bothers me. Because of this list of things I really want, or want to keep, that I don’t want God to mess with.
All my issues with God come down to fear and trust.
Which one will I give in to? Fear of all I might lose? Fear of not having what I think I need? Fear of losing my pretend control, or trust in God for everything?
In journaling about this, I thought, my Bible says “God works all things together for my good”, yet God and I often do not agree on the meaning of good. I opened Romans 8:28, and noticed I’ve twisted it a bit, and how easy it is for us to do that with God’s Word.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him…
That word good, the good God works for, is drawing us to Him. The good is closeness to Jesus. God is not interested in working out everything in our lives so that we think it’s good, happy, easy, safe, and enjoyable. WHAT?
Instead, He takes everything He allows in our lives, everything He will allow in days to come, what seems both good and bad, and He helps us love Him more through these. His goal is not our happiness, not our safety, not our amazing quality of life. Those never were His goals. He wants us to grow in love for Him.
You and me, friend, we were made to love God. And love means to die, to die to ourselves. Why, Christians, do we act like we were made to live happy, safe, comfortable, enjoyable lives? I am not saying we should not enjoy…God is for pleasure, but even our pleasure should draw us closer to Him, and I’m afraid often, it helps us ignore Him. It keeps us distracted and away from Him.
We were made to love God, not to build great lives, and hold on.
So today, this my prayer~that I let it all go, choose trust over fear, that I lay me down, and love everything He calls me to in this life, because I love Him.
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me and for the gospel will save it. Mark 8: 34-35