***LENGTH ALERT! This is the longest post I’ve written. It’s aptly titled, too. What happens when God asks you to read a lengthy blog post? 😉 ***
Has God ever asked too much of you? Be honest. I know for me there have been times when I felt like He was asking WAY TOO MUCH. My initial responses were usually similar to these: You what? What did You say? What are you after, God? Why me? This isn’t fair. This can’t be right. Leave me alone. Pick on somebody else. PLEASE!
Any of those sound familiar? Has God ever imposed enough on your life that you responded in such a way? If not, just wait; He will.
Most of the time, I would eventually come around and surrender to His desire. I say most of the time, because I’m sure there are still things that He is asking of me that I haven’t given up yet. I will, though. If I desire to go on with the Lord, I will give in to what He asks. If I don’t give in, I won’t go on. At least, not down His path. If I choose not to give up whatever it is that He is asking, then I am choosing my own path, and any progress with God is stunted. I don’t want to go down my own path. I want His path. Why? Because, ultimately, He gets His way anyway. He’s the beginning and the end. It all started with and in Him, and it will all end with and in Him. So, His path wins, and my path is gone. Why fight it? Why insist on my own way? His way is better, too. SO. MUCH. BETTER. Hard to believe, I know, but it is. I’ve experienced it.
“Many of us do not go on spiritually because we prefer to choose what is right instead of relying on God to choose for us.” ~ Oswald Chambers
Sure, R.C., but sometimes God just asks too much. He can’t really expect me to go through this, can He? He doesn’t really mean to give it all up, right? There are some things that just can’t be done. There are some things that just can’t be given up. Really? He asks too much? Sure He does! For example:
- God asks us to choose His Family over our own.
- God asks us to give up our home for His.
- God asks us to lay down our marriage for His.
- God asks us to devote ourselves to His Body instead of our own.
Let’s get practical:
Living next door to your family, God asks you to move to be a part of His Family. And not just down the street or to the next town over. He asks you to move half way across the country. Or clear across the country. Or to another country! What if He asks you to stay with His Family for the holidays instead of “going home” for the holidays? What if He asks you to spend your birthdays with His family instead of going to see your family?
What about the flip side? God asks you to be ok with your family being a part of His Family, too? God asks you to move next door to your family for His purpose? What is your response when He asks you to leave what you know of His Family and move somewhere (maybe next to your family) for Him to have more of His Family? What about when He asks you to forgive and be reconciled to your mother/father/other family member for His purpose? God can ask an awful lot sometimes, can’t He?
Let’s go deeper. What happens when God asks you to give up your child or children? When He asks you to trust Him with their decisions, actions, thoughts, behavior, choices? He asks you to trust Him when your child has a terminal disease? He asks you to trust Him when your child is stillborn? He asks you to trust Him when your child or children are lost in an accident? He asks you to trust Him when your child is taken in cold blood? He asks you to trust Him when your child is martyred for his or her faith? He asks you to give up your child or children to Him. God asks you to let go of your family for His Family.
What about your house or home? Well, God asks you to give that up for His. God asks you to sell your house to move for His house. God asks you to go against what you thought was your plan and buy a house for His purpose. God asks you to rent in a not-so-good part of town for His life to be expressed. God asks you to rent in a well-to-do neighborhood for His image to be displayed. God thwarts you in trying to buy a home, because He has another plan in mind. He asks you to sell your stuff and be homeless.
What if He asks the unthinkable? God asks you to give your house to somebody who’s in need. Or you’re in need, but God asks you to lose your house. You can’t pay bills, and your house is taken away from you, and He asks you to trust Him still. He asks you to trust Him when the house that’s been in your family for generations is lost in a fire, or foreclosed on. He asks you to trust Him when your house is destroyed by an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane. He asks you to live with another family for a period of time. God asks you to give up your home for His Home.
Now, what about my marriage? How does God ask me to give up that? In ways you don’t expect. What about when God asks you to stay married when you don’t want to? Your spouse has had an affair, and you want out. But He asks you to stay. Your spouse is mean, inattentive, and not “meeting your needs”, and you want out, but He asks you to stay.
God asks you to forgive and reconcile with your spouse. He asks you to love your spouse despite his or her adultery or inattentiveness. He asks you to love through his or her porn addiction. Or his or her cross-dressing addiction. Or his or her gambling addiction. Or his or her drug addiction. Or his or her alcohol addiction. Or, you’re really trying to love your spouse and stick with it, but God asks you to leave. Either for a season or for good. Or He asks you to put your spouse out for a season or for good. He asks you to be His image in your marriage.
Ok, there’s no infidelity, inattentiveness, or addiction in the marriage. What then? God asks you to lay your life down for your spouse. He asks you to wash the dishes and take out the trash and get up with the baby without ever being asked or told to. He asks you to surrender your ideas of sex and intimacy in the marriage. He asks you to give up your rights in the marriage, so He can have His way. He asks you not to push your spouse into following the Lord a certain way. He asks you to not set your spouse on a pedestal above Him. He asks you to lay down your desire for being loved in a certain way. He asks you not to impose your desires for family gatherings, or childrearing, or homeschooling, or holiday celebrations, or putting the toilet seat down, or squeezing the toothpaste from the bottom of the tube, or loading the dishwasher a certain way, or leaving the lights off for sex, or passing gas in front of your spouse, or taking the dog out for a walk, or watching TV in bed, or cooking pot roast just like your mother. God asks too much.
This doesn’t pertain to me, because I’m not married. Then God asks you to give up wanting to be married and stay single. Or He asks you to give up your intention to be single for His purpose of you being married. He asks you to give up your dreams of a wife and three kids and working in the button factory. He asks you not to date. He asks you to talk with every married couple you know. He asks you to date Him. God asks you to give up your marriage for His Bride.
I love my body; God says it’s ok to love my body. Sure. Then He asks you to give up your individualism for His corporate Body. He asks you to not only spend time with Him by yourself but to also spend time with Him with others. He asks you to rewrite a song with one or two other saints. He asks you to turn scripture into fellowship with Him with another saint or the whole church. He asks you to call sweetly on His name with a group of believers. He asks you to walk in the cool of the day with another saint and Him. He asks you to eat dinner with another family. He asks you to buy a second pair of sunglasses for another saint in the church. He asks you to give free haircuts for some in the church. He asks you to move in with one or more other saints for His purpose. He asks you to open up your home and host church gatherings.
What else? God asks you to get over yourself and serve others. He asks you to wash another’s feet. He asks you to see the New Testament as letters written to churches and groups of believers and not as basic instructions before leaving earth. He asks you to consider His Body more important than yourself. He asks you to forgive and be reconciled to those who have offended you. He asks you to seek forgiveness from those whom you’ve offended. He asks you love His Body more than yourself.
What about when God asks you to put aside your personal feelings for certain saints and accept them into His church? What if He then asks you to break fellowship with dear friends because they’ve stopped following the Lord for their own desires? Is He asking too much then?
Been There Done That
God doesn’t ask anything He hasn’t given up first. The Father gave up the Son for His Family. The Son gave up His home for His Father’s Home. Christ laid down His life for His Bride. And Christ surrendered His body for His Body.
Whenever we think God is asking too much of us, we can rest in the fact that He’s given up so much more for us. And we know that His grace is sufficient. And we know this:
“Verily I say to you, there is no one who left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or fields, for my sake, and for the good news’,
who may not receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and fields, with persecutions, and in the age that is coming, life age-during..” ~ Jesus in Mark 10:29-30 (YLT)
In other words, He makes it worth it now, and He makes it worth it later. His life is used to giving up what’s asked. You can’t do it, but He can. I encourage you to trust Him and let His life do it through you. He won’t regret it, and He won’t let you regret it, either. I know I haven’t. Amen.