I saw the emotion written across their faces. And the tears they desperately tried to hold back.
You see, they had been called.
They felt the stirrings in their hearts and witnessed the confirmations fall into place.
And they answered,
“If You say so.”
When Jesus calls you, how will you answer?
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21 ESV
Will it be the first time He calls? The second? Or will you turn away from it completely?
Maybe it’s a new job, a new ministry, a child, a purchase, an act of sacrifice, or maybe it is the call to give your heart to Jesus for the first time.
Will you listen?
Will you answer?
This week I watched my pastor and his wife put aside comfort, ease, and security. They announced their plan to move far away to partner in the planting of a new church. Their move will mean leaving much behind. Deep friendships. A support system for their family. A community that loves and treasures them and their children.
And they did it to follow hard after Jesus. To answer Him with,
“If You say so, we will go.”
As we shed tears and hugged them, each of us gathered together in that room knew beyond the shadow of a doubt God had called them to things beyond what our minds could begin to envision. Things that will write their stories and carve out their legacy. Things that will touch and change lives for the good. Things that will serve as the conduit of God’s life-giving power.
But that doesn’t mean their story will be easy.
Because following Jesus isn’t easy.
But it’s worth it.
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. -Proverbs 2:1-5 ESV
There is a myth that tells us that choosing to follow Jesus means that life will be easy. Because we call Him our Father, we think that if we are good children obeying His commands, we can stay out of trouble, away from the hard choices, therefore making life easy.
But that is not the way this world works. There is sin in the world. We are incapable of living without sin and before we get to the other side of the cross, we are living in this world where sin and evil flourish around us, having its direct impact upon us. And when we are in a position to advance the great cause of Jesus, the enemy wants nothing more than to stop us in our tracks. He attacks in hopes of our defeat.
But what the enemy doesn’t get, is that when we give our lives to Jesus and we live in pursuit of Him seeking to share His love, grace, and truth with the world, he will never win. That’s because Jesus wins every time. He has come to give us life. He has overcome the world.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33 NLT
In that overcoming, lay His promises. One of which says that He will make beauty from our ashes (Isaiah 61:3) and another that says He will bring forth good from all the bad and the ugly (Romans 8:28).
And friends, I can tell you I have lived it. I have lived wanting life easy. I have lived following a call and pursuing Jesus, somewhere deep in my heart expecting God to show me favor because of my obedience.
I lived the difficult. I lived the ashes.
But I have also lived to see the beauty rising out of those ashes and to see how God took all the bad and built it into a story unlike any I could ever imagine.
That’s why I can stand behind this family I love so dearly. I can stand behind them and cheer because I know that God is writing an incredible story through them.
One they would never want to miss.
And friends, once your heart is moved by Jesus, He doesn’t let go. He keeps calling. You can avoid it. You can look the other way. You can pretend you don’t feel it.
But you will never find peace.
You will live forever in the land of “What If”.
I don’t think any of us want to find ourselves stuck in that place wondering,
What if …
So to what or where is Jesus calling you?
And what will your answer be?
Will your story be half written with a plot forgotten almost before it’s finished? One that gets dusty on the shelves somewhere because of the poorly written script? Or will you hand it over to the God of the Universe for a story of wonders beyond your imagination. One that will be treasured by the many who come after you?
What will your answer be? In the face of hard choices, will you have the courage to say,
“If You say so, I will go.”
Lord, I thank you for your call on our lives. And the love that calls us out of the ordinary into the extraordinary. You have a story to write through our lives that will transform the lives of many more. May our courage be You. Our ears hear You. Our steps follow You. And may we never forget that following You is so worth every moment. May Your truths and promises be locked in our mind and fuel our hearts and actions. Lord, I pray for Your hedge of protection around our precious friends and upon every person choosing to pursue You. May the enemy’s attempts be thwarted each and every time and may Your peace, hope, love, and comfort reign in our hearts. In Your precious Name I pray. Amen.
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