Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Cost of Obedience

I can't recall that many times in my life when I felt like God was asking me to do something, but I really didn't want to do it.  I don't know what that says about my relationship with Him, but I'm a people-pleaser and like to follow the rules, so obedience is often less difficult for me due to my personality.  I guess it's a teaching moment in my life, but I've recently been in a relationship with a guy and shortly into it I got the feeling that maybe I should tell him it wasn't going to work, and that I needed to stop seeing him.  But of course, when you're traveling alone for so long and in a country by yourself it's nice to have someone to hang out with and it's always nice to be appreciated, so I rationalized.  He wasn't going to be in town much longer, etc., etc., and I just kept putting it off.  I know in my head that God only wants what is best for me, He's not going to lead me astray, but as the sinful child that I am, I'd rather do what I want to do.  So all this has been going on in my head and Sunday rolled around and I went to church.  It was one of those times where I don't know if anyone else got something out of the service because I felt like God had it tailor-made just for me.  There was a musician and her husband doing the service, Bel & Phil Thomson, and so many of the songs she sang, the stories she told, even the brief  10 minute sermon her husband gave were incredibly convicting.  I was holding back tears at several points during the service.  Her song "Worth the Fight" and this song, "In Time With You" were especially personal to me:

You would think, that after all the conviction and feeling like God was confirming to me that this really, truly was what He was asking me to do, I would have done it.  But of course not, sometimes I can be so stubborn, and it's rarely for my own good.  The end all to the story is that I finally broke it off this morning, and without going into more detail, had I done it the first few times I felt God calling me to it, I'm certain it wouldn't have been near as painful.  While the short-term pain is certainly not fun, I know that the cost of obedience in the long run is totally worth it.  Following God's plan for your life is always worth the fight.

The whole ordeal is especially humbling because after I wrote the post about prayer and the book I was reading on prayer, I got the nicest email back from a friend, just encouraging me that over the years she had seen me grow spiritually.  It's hard to chart your own spiritual growth and sometimes it feels like you're not growing at all, especially when you can't even obey Him in such a small thing.  I guess it's a small comfort to know that I did obey, and a chance to build on this obedience for next time.

I just pray that some day I can look back on this situation and know that I've grown since then, that I really can trust God with all the bits and pieces of my life.  I have to keep reminding myself of the verses my parents had me learn years ago, James 1:2-4 (KJV) "My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything."

So once again, and I write this with tears in my eyes, thank you to all of you who have been praying for me.  Not just now while I'm here in Australia, but over the years as well.  I know it's only by God's grace that I have so many amazing, Godly examples in my life who care enough about me to ask our heavenly Father for things on my behalf.

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