How far will you go in your obedience to God?
I listened in disbelief as someone who should have shown wisdom and kindness was wounding my heart with carelessly spoken words that left the piercing stab of arrogance upon my soul. I reasoned to try to remain calm and not say a word but my heart was burning with pain. This was someone who had wounded me in the past and I have in time been able to forgive. I couldn’t believe this person was actually proving that what I had forgiven was still alive in their heart. I was speechless. I was shattered. The last thing I wanted to do was embrace gentleness and patience. As the days went on and the pain was becoming less and less debilitating, I started to ask God for forgiveness. It took me a while to realize that I was not called to look for faults in this person- not even when they shone like coins in shallow water- but to cover them. I was called to bring healing through my thoughts, words, and actions to the very same person that hurt me so deeply. Oftentimes, when God desires to teach us a deep lesson about obedience, our first and strongest desire is to run away from the challenge. Instead of giving our every effort into allowing God to mold us so we can understand what He is trying to teach us, we close our hearts and would have none of the pain. Yet, pain for the Christian is one of the richest blessings that life can offer. The greatest Christians who have ever existed were people who experienced tremendous pain and chose to pay the price of obedience. One of these blessed saints was Richard Wurmbrand, a man who after spending many years in Communist prisons while undergoing cruel torture and loss of any hope of returning to his family, became a man whose books and life still speak today. I remember the many times I had listened to him speak and was always so attracted by His gentleness and radiance but what I often failed to understand was the tremendous sacrifice that comes with paying the highest price of obedience. For most of us, living a life of absolute obedience sounds exciting and we like to even entertain the idea but what about when it comes to actually experiencing what it means to pay the price of obedience? In my own life, I have never found obedience to be a matter of comfort and ease but always something that made me feel uneasy and uncomfortable. God would often place His finger on an area of my life that was requiring His loving discipline and that was almost always something that required sacrifice on my part. I have often had to let go of my pride, my rights, my hurt, my honor, my desires, and everything that made my life about me and not about Christ. Contrary to what we are prone to think, what I have found on the other side of surrender was never loss but always gain. The more I had lost of myself, the more I had gained of Him, and the way He blesses surpasses the cost of any of our sacrifices multiplied. Though God will often test our obedience to Him through painful circumstances, He is also the God that requires us to be obedient in the everyday matters of life. I am becoming more and more aware of the reality that God’s commands are never out of our reach but always within our grasp. They are not hard to understand but can be understood by the simplest of people. He requires of us to live our lives for Him alone and to give Him all of our heart. When we desire to be obedient to Him no matter how painful it may be to pay the price of sacrifice, we will always find His peace and strength. The more we give of ourselves, the more we receive of Him! How much does your obedience cost you?
“And shall I pray Thee change Thy will, my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
But, no, Lord, no, that never shall be, rather
I pray Thee blend my human will with Thine.
I pray Thee hush the hurrying, eager longing,
I pray Thee soothe the pangs of keen desire—
See in my quiet places, wishes thronging—
Forbid them, Lord, purge, though it be with fire.”
― Amy Carmichael