The Discomfort of Obedience

I used to think that the hardest part of a new adventure and new promise from God was the waiting.  Waiting to find out what they would be, waiting to share it, waiting to see where it would lead, waiting to go, just plain waiting. I thought that once I made it through the waiting that then I would be there, at the glorious part where you see all that God has been up to.  I thought that after that horrendous experience of waiting, everything would be easier… somehow?

I’ve decided I was wrong.

There is something exciting about that part of the new adventure. The excitement of the unknown and untraveled. There is something fresh and new and exhilarating.

Then the day is here. The adventure has been announced, plans have been made, God’s voice clearly distinguished. There is still time to turn back but who would want to. God’s best is waiting on the other side and besides, a new adventure is always so exciting!

So you jump. You move without a job. And, within the second week you’ve found a job. You budget, plan, fix up the apartment. It seems that the world is at your beck and call.

Seems is the key word there because then reality sets in… it’s called month two.

Month two is where you realize, A) you won’t be getting paid for a whole month, B) you don’t get paid till the middle of the month and C) Moving cost a lot more than you thought it would.  Month two is where sickness hits you and you feel as though you bought all of CVS, multiple times.  Month two is where you budget is thrown out the window and everything seems to come down to pennies.

Month two is reality.  This is where life asks you, “Are you sure you heard God?” “Are you sure this was the plan?” “Maybe you should get a second job?” “Maybe you should… XYZ.”

Oh, month two.  I was sitting here the other day kinda stressing because well, that’s what happens when you’re sick and bills arrive, and I was reminded of something God spoke to me a few years ago. “You will never work enough to make enough.”  The reality is that even if I worked 70 hrs a week and got paid top dollar I would never work enough to make “enough.”  It would always seem to be just beyond my reach if I, in my own power, strive to make it happen.  If this is His plan then it will be His provision.

Silly right.  Two months in and my heart is racing wondering how this is going to work out.  I didn’t expect this part, but shouldn’t I have?

Look at the Israelites.  They were taken out of bondage and were moving towards the Promise Land.  They sent men into the land that confirmed it was ALL that God had told them it would be… BUT there were some things that they weren’t expecting.  There were giants in the land.  

Month two and there are giants in my land.  Big, tall, terrifying giants.  Thankfully God knew the giants would be here and has been preparing my heart.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the LORD of hosts. ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’” Haggai 2:4-5

God gives magnificent Promises.  They are full of adventure and joy and peace.  When we have successfully taken hold of the Promise and reside there we have found our rest.  The thing that we often forget is that it takes action to get to that part. There is something between the receiving of a Promise and the fulfillment of the Promise.  Adventures aren’t always pretty views and breathtaking skies.  Adventures are full of trauma and terror, rainy days and cold sleepless nights.  Adventures always mean a bloody nose or a skinned knee.  Wherever adventures waits there also lies struggle.

Just think through the bible.

  • Abraham was old when Isaac was conceived.  Think about that.  Sleepless nights and poopy diapers were coupled with arthritis and hip pain.
  • David was chased like an outlaw.  Kingship usually means cushy chairs and fancy dinners but for David it meant rock pillows and some pretty gnarly men.
  • Jesus was crucified.  The Messiah.  The King who would come to set Israel free.  He was killed like a murderer.  What Israel expected was to be set free in the way they had been set free in Egypt but God had far better plans.  God wanted to go beyond the here and now to forever, to give a salvation that would never end.  But to do that Jesus, the Christ, would have to die for us.  Thankfully He didn’t have to stay there but also rose again.  Still… not at all what was expected.

God has been bringing to mind so many others in the last few days, as I sit in the discomfort of obedience.  I take courage that they too went into adventures that didn’t always look the way that the Promise had been expected.  They too sat in seats that looked to lead anywhere but the Promise.  And I hold onto the fact that in their obedience, His Promise was always accomplished.

And that’s the plan right?  That His Plan, His Promise would be FULFILLED… ACCOMPLISHED… SEEN….

And so, I revel in the discomfort for it makes me turn to He who is my Provision.  It makes me take action where it doesn’t look like there is any.  It makes me see His moves and mimic them.  It makes me.

I am still on this unexpected adventure.  My life is still magical and wonderful.  My apartment is still a haven.  My job is still a blessing.  Jesus is speaking life to me and I am seeing His movement in His people.  He is revealing my identity, reclaiming Promises of old.  But with each new promise and each revelation, I must learn to sit in the discomfort of obedience.

Be strong and courageous.  Revel in the discomfort.  Find peace in the unexpected.  For I go with you, My Spirit is with you always.  Do not be afraid.


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