My sweet friend,
I was so sad when God closed the door on Africa. I had always dreamed of moving to Uganda after graduation and serving the Lord there long-term. My heart longed for Africa. To be completely honest, it still does. My heart skips a beat even now thinking about serving God on the front lines with sweet orphans in my arms. But God said no.
Come fall of this past year and I was offered the chance to go to both Uganda and Kenya. Not only go there to travel, but for my ministry to work alongside another ministry to care for special needs children and orphans. Not only that, but to have the privilege of documenting my trip for them as a journalist. But God said no.
But why "No," God? If you have given me this desire, why is your answer always "No?"
Isn't this how we all feel sometimes?
I was floored each and every time God said "No." Not that I didn't believe that He had the authority to do that, but because my intentions of serving Him were going ahead of the season in which He wanted me to stay in.
Obedience is hard... especially when everything you have dreamed of is being crushed under the foot of God. I always thought that grieving was strictly about feeling deeply the death of others, but it is so much more. Grieving sometimes means laying down our own desires at the foot of the cross and hanging on by the thread of Jesus' robe. It may even mean repeating the phrase, "Jesus, I trust you." when we barely have any breath left in us.
Are you grieving today? Are you grieving the loss of the desires that you so believed were placed in the palm of your hand by the Life-Giver?
Me, too. My heart beats for Africa and I fully believe that it always will. But I have to raise my hands in praise anyway. Because that is what God commands of me to do. It's all about meeting God in the here and now and fully trusting Him with our futures. But why is that so hard?
The Bible is completely filled to the brim with obedience to God. Just think... what do you think would have happened if Noah didn't build the ark or if Joshua didn't command the sun to stand still? What would have happened if David didn't pick up that stone or if Jonah would have just gone to Nineveh as God commanded? What would have happened if Esther gave in to her fear or if Moses didn't lift his staff to part the sea? My friend, more importantly, what if Jesus chose the easy way out?
Well, let me tell you.
The entire human race would have drowned.
Joshua's whole army would have been destroyed.
Goliath would still be standing.
Jonah wouldn't have been swallowed by a fish.
The king would have been killed.
The Israelites would have been caught by Pharaohs army.
All of our eternity would be spent in the hands of our destroyer.
Disaster, sweet friend! Absolute chaos.
Let's talk about obedience and why it is important.
In fact, I believe that it is the most important thing in our relationship with God.
The thing is this... God didn't always appear as a burning bush or in a cloud of fire. So often, God showed up in a quiet voice that started in the hearts of our Bible fav's. He started out in the quiet whispers in the wind and the minds of those fast asleep.
Being obedient to God means knowing His character and knowing that the deep waters we find ourselves in is nothing compared to the victory that was paid for us on that cross we all know so well.
Obedience means loving the Father and loving the process. It means accepting struggle and rejoicing in it too. It means finding hope when you are not at all where you planned on being and packing your bags when God calls you to somewhere else. It means taking one step at a time because obedience is not a suggestion... it is a command.
Will you choose obedience?
Or will you choose the easy way out?