I was sitting down at a wooden table sipping Fanta Citron on a warm Burundian night as I listened intently to a powerful man of God named Onesphore share this piece of wisdom. He said “When you say ‘yes’ to God, it isn’t just one ‘yes’. It means many yeses for the rest of your life.” Looking at the life of Jesus, it is easy to look at the seemingly big moments like the miracles, the sacrifice He made on the cross, his triumphant resurrection, all of which are foundational parts of God’s narrative. There are other moments that don’t get enough attention, but have major implications in understanding the life God is calling us to live. For me, one of the most moving parts of the story of Jesus came when he found Himself kneeling at a vital crossroad. He was faced with a decision about His destiny moments before was betrayed and handed over to be crucified. While praying in the garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, “Father, if it is your will, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22). He knew what was coming. And in His human state, he didn’t want to have to face the agony, shame, and pain of going through with the decision to lay down His life for humanity. Yet, right there in that moment He chose. He chose to submit to the will of God despite how He felt.
It’s ok to let God know where you’re at. You can tell God that what you’re going through doesn’t feel good at all. Our Daddy cares deeply. Your heart is in pain; tell Him. Jesus admitted to God that He felt weak, that He didn’t feel like going forward. It’s healthy to cry in the Father’s arms and to let Him know you’re hurting. And at the end of you pouring out your heart to Him, I pray that you have the strength and grace to say “nevertheless”; that you obtain the strength to choose the Father’s will for your life despite how it feels.
This principle can apply to many areas of our lives. It doesn’t always have to be in an apparent life or death situation, although continually choosing His will inevitably leads to the abundant life. Even something as simple as an opportunity to cheat and be dishonest, you can say, “That would be the easy way, nevertheless I’ll do what’s right”. I don’t feel like it, but nevertheless I’ll love the person that’s being unlovable, I’ll forgive my father, I’ll get up early because it’s good for me, I’ll humble myself and apologize to my wife/husband even though I think I’m right, I’ll… the list could go on forever. “Nevertheless” is a declaration that says I am putting aside what I want and walking in what God has for me. It’s following God’s way in spite of what my flesh wants to do. Doing this is not easy, but it is worth it…it requires the Holy Spirit and a profound measure of grace.
What I’m writing about today builds on the message from last week, so if you haven’t read last week’s entry I encourage you to do so. As a side note, this isn’t a license for false piety. I don’t want anyone taking this principle and saying that in order for me to follow God my life has to be hard all the time and I have to make sure I’m suffering on purpose. Don’t get it twisted. That said, following God will require tremendous sacrifice and daily decisions to deny yourself in exchange for the fullness God’s plan for your life. I feel like there is somebody reading this that is facing an important decision even now. You know what the right thing to do is but it’s not the easy choice. Trust God. He knows what He’s doing and the reward for your obedience far outweighs your present discomfort. His plans for you are to prosper you, not to harm you. Don’t forget that.
Walking with God isn’t simply finding the path. It involves a dedication to remain on the path at every crossroad and opportunity you have to exit. The alternative is frequently very appealing and choices of this nature surface often. May your life be one of many yeses to God.
Let’s pray: “Father, I choose your will despite how I feel. This isn’t easy; nevertheless not my will but yours be done. In Jesus’ name.”