Letting God Have His Way
Sometimes, we make God sound like a bossy five-year old; like we are somehow giving in because we’re tired of His whining. I used to have this impression of Him trying to sell me on some idea that I really didn’t want to be part of. It took a long time for me to learn and trust that He is none of those things. “God is not a fish-burger God.” I don’t remember the speaker who said this during my DTS, but I remember this quote specifically. The analogy is that if God were to take you out to McDonald’s and you wanted a Big Mac, He wouldn’t get you the fish-burger instead (unless you prefer the fish-burger which, in that case, the analogy breaks down). But the POINT is- God doesn’t do things to spite you. He doesn’t taunt you with a free meal and then get the least like-able item on the menu. He’s not out to ensure you are miserable.
For some reason, that analogy immediately changed my life. It was as if God had literally just blammed me with revelation. (McDonald’s, right? Who knew?) From that day on, I resolved to pray differently, act differently, and live differently, expecting that God really wanted the best for me and that could include things like happiness and fulfillment. But the practice of walking out that perspective was difficult for me to grasp.
I had trained myself to pray only until I felt a challenge coming. I would wait to hear His voice until I sensed He was about to say something I didn’t want to hear. I spent my quiet times waiting for the other shoe to drop, that moment when He’d lay on me that He wanted me to sell everything I owned and move to Rwanda or something.
But there came a point where I didn’t want that one-sided relationship anymore. You can’t truly know and love someone whom you cut off every time they’re about to speak. So the first time I chose to glue myself down and not run away, it was nerve-wracking.
Except He didn’t yell at me. He didn’t demand from me. He didn’t lay it on thick about the sorry wreck I was. He actually whispered the most comforting amazing things I’ve ever heard: peace, promises of how much He loved me, how excited He was about my future, how much He enjoyed my company. It was through those quiet reassurances that I began to trust Him with my heart.
Sometimes He asks difficult things of me. I’ve had to relinquish relationships, homes, jobs, property, desires. I’ve at times felt stripped to nothing. But in the purity of those requests and the process of walking through those pains, I’ve realized He asks me only to lay down the things that are hurting me, even though, like an addict, I want so desperately to keep them at the time. He asks me to forego certain dreams in lieu of better ones. He reshapes my ideals into intentional focus. And it’s been worth it every time.
Whole-heartedly, one hundred percent, I would have no other way than Jesus’. Everything He has stripped me of has been a burden and the weight is gone and I am free. Everything He gives, He gives without reservation, without grudge, without expecting anything in return. The funny part is that the very things I used to dread hearing from Him have become a solace because I have learned that He never tells me something I don’t need to hear. And He knows exactly how I need to be communicated to. Every time He pulls me from where I am, it’s because the place He wants me is BETTER.
I guess letting Him have His way is really more about my perspective of Him than it is about what He does or doesn’t want me to do. I know now what the Psalmist was talking about every time he said “Lord, I love your decrees.” He wasn’t a nut-job who loved rules; he loved the heart of God that flowed from them. I have never felt safer, more secure, more at home, or more at rest than when I am in the place of total surrender to my Maker. I have never enjoyed my life more, felt more content, or been more alive than when I am obeying my King.
Recently, I realized I have crossed a threshold. I was speaking with a friend about her future plans, what obedience to God’s will really looks like, and it occurred to me: I have passed from the place where I obey because Dad’s telling me to into the place where, because He is my Best Friend, I can see where He is headed and I don’t want to be anywhere else than where He’s going. Whatever I do, I want it to be with Him. I want to stay as close to Him as possible.
I know He never leaves us, but what I’m talking about is different. Relying solely on the fact that He won’t abandon me, I could demand that He chase after me as I do my own thing. But the kind of obedience that flows from love notices where He’s leading, runs to grab His hand and willfully, wholeheartedly journeys with Him. It’s true to me now- there’s no place I’d rather be, even if it is Rwanda.