I remember watching my kids play in the small town park, bundled up from the autumn chill, patting my pregnant belly as my husband mumbled, “There is no way we’ll ever live here… NO WAY.”
Just over a month later, we made the six hour drive behind a moving truck, into that very town.
We were scared out of our minds, and more peace-filled than ever before.
Some may have referred to us as crazy. Moving away from our families for the first time ever, to step into full time vocational ministry, wasn’t really considered “normal” to most. We had a six year old, a two year old, and a baby on the way. We were young. Excited for what God was doing in our lives. But we’d hesitated.
“No way” became, “Are you sure, God?” And that transformed into, “I think this might be It,” which eventually led to, “Yes, Lord… we will go.”
And there we went.
We certainly hadn’t intended to ever say “No” to God. I mean, we were VIP passengers on the “Wherever He Leads” train. I’m not so sure, however, where we thought that would land us when we jumped aboard. We’d heard grand tales from those who had sojourned before us. We anticipated the same. When we pulled into the midwest-small-town station, we were certain that wasn’t our stop. “Umm, no God… but thanks anyways!”
I’m sure He got a good laugh out of that day at the park. “Oh realllllly? Hmm… alrighty then.”
Thankfully we listened. That little town became a grand chapter of our story, and still holds a big, beautiful piece of our hearts today.
We were like baby birds learning to fly. We flailed and flapped our way through that maiden voyage, but we did it. We flew! And it helped shape the rest of our course.
It’s so easy to pre-set notions of where God will lead us, isn’t it?
Ironically, we made friends in the same town whom God later called into missions. They traveled to Kenya, and were prepared to move their family of five to The Slums of Nairobi. But when God asked them to minister to the students who resided in “the slums” of that little midwest town, they were a bit confused. “Lord, we’re willing to go to Africa and serve you. We’re ready to sell it all and board a plane today!”
“But what about this?” the Lord asked.
Their calling and ours seemed much different at first glance. And yet, we both ended up in student ministry. In American churches. Who knew?
I have no doubt that God is using this mission to prepare them for the next. There are lessons to be learned in every season, even those that seem insignificant.
sightly terribly embarrassed at how many times I’ve actually tried to tell God No. I have been conveniently reminded of each of those as my fingers hit keys in this very moment. What a disobedient daughter!
And yet, each time that I’ve surrendered that No and accepted His call (the way HE asked), I have never been disappointed. He has never once failed me. I don’t expect Him to do so… ever… but why is it still so difficult to just scream YES?! (That fleshly side of me likes to rear her ugly head).
I’ve often thought about Jesus as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane under the stars many years ago. He knew his time on earth was nearing an end. He knew the agony… the pain that he would endure. The greatest of which would be the moment He was to experience separation from His Father.
Did He fail me that fateful night? Did He decide that it was just too much of a cross to bear, tell His Father that He just couldn’t do it, and instead, run deep into the desert never to be seen again?
Of course He didn’t. Jesus knew what needed to happen… for you… for me.
Jesus said Yes.
Yes to the despair. Yes to the call. Yes to the Father.
Yes to the Cross.
What has God asked, to which your instinctive response was No? Was it a job… a move… loving someone who is hard to love…. forgiving someone who doesn’t deserve it… answering a call… following a plan other than the one YOU had perfectly prepared for your future… taking less pay… keeping your mouth shut… staying where you are… offering grace… walking into healing… raising kids? Yeah, this list goes on and on, people.
And here’s the thing, that time won’t be the only instance when you’ll want to say No. There will be plenty more, if there hasn’t already.
What about the moments in which you have already said No to God… and that was that? Oh, been there! I’m pretty sure my scenario went down similar to that of a stubborn toddler refusing to eat their peas… even to the point of throwing them in His face. Shameful.
That’s where His beautiful, unfailing Grace comes into the picture (well, there and many other places). God can bring beauty out of the detour you chose, and I can assure you that He will offer you many opportunities in which to say YES to Him… yes, even there.
I don’t know what God is asking of you today. Maybe you’re silently shaking your head side to side, or maybe it’s Him saying No to you.
Either way, surrender whatever it is to Him in prayer. Ask Him to give you clarity, confidence, and wisdom. Don’t let fear take you to a place of regret. His purpose is far greater than the alternative. Let’s replace our No’s with Yes’s.
Yes Lord, I will go.
Yes Lord, I will stay.
Yes Lord, I will keep fighting.
Yes Lord, I will live.
Yes Lord, I will forgive.
Yes Lord, I will obey.