I was looking around church yesterday before the services started. Our sanctuary was decorated for the Christmas holiday celebrations, the choir was filing in wearing their red stoles for the season, people were settling into their seats and getting prepared to worship. As I looked around, I noticed a couple sitting nearby. The husband’s arm was wrapped around his wife’s shoulder and he was leaning in close to tell her something. There were big smiles on both of their faces. Beautiful. Totally beautiful.
Now, these people make me happy just by being in the world, but the looks on their faces made it even better. Part of the reason for my joy was that I knew a very small portion of their story. Quite awhile back I had a conversation with the wife. She is gifted in several different areas and she was serving God with the use of those gifts at home, at work and at church…but…she had decided that she needed to scale back some of her involvement in order to worship with her husband. They were fine—the marriage wasn’t in trouble and there hadn’t been any big discussions about feeling neglected. She wasn’t being pressured by her husband to make these changes. She just felt this tug from God to do so. Unfortunately, she was getting quite a bit of push-back about reducing her involvement…from others.
Admittedly, she is gifted and our whole congregation has received both blessing and benefit from the use of her gifts. Most of the questions she was getting centered around the “Are you SURE this is from God?—Maybe you misunderstood” variety. It’s hard to say no sometimes…especially when it’s a good thing. It’s even more difficult when it’s something that’s seen by so many as a God-thing. For my friend, however, it came down to a choice to be obedient to honor her husband and strengthen her marriage. That was the real God-thing.
I got it. That doesn’t make me smarter than some of the others. It just meant that I had been there—exactly there—years before. I got the same questions; the same push-back. I made the same decision she did…and I’ve never regretted it. I shared with her that strengthening an already great, healthy marriage was also an important way to bless others in our church and in the world at large.
As I looked at their faces, I was reminded of the following verses:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Later in the sermon, our pastor made the following statement: “It’s high time we stop trying to make sense of what God tells us to do and just be obedient.” I couldn’t agree more. Once more, I looked in their direction, saw their joy and gave thanks to God for knowing best…even when it doesn’t always “make sense” to us. From the looks on their faces yesterday, I’d say that God was speaking to my friend about this matter. She was wise to listen and God really did have a plan for her good.
Imagine that! God was right! (smile)
You may not be in the same situation as my friend, but if God is tugging at your heart to follow His direction in an area of your life, DO NOT WAIT! Be obedient today! Whether you understand completely or not, trust Him to know best! God has great plans for you and the sooner you get with His program, the sooner you’ll begin to reap the benefits that only come with obedience to Him!
Grace & Peace!