Obedience and Disapointment

I did a study on the book of Jonah once and learned that the book is much more than just a story about a man who was swallowed by a fish.  It is rich and deep with lessons and truths from God.  There was one lesson that focused on how God can use individuals with weaknesses, against insurmountable odds, to show forth his power and glory.  As I studied for this lesson, I was facing my own personal mountain that I wasn’t sure how I was going to cross.  I was leading a class on the study and I wanted to be able to share with the class personal examples of how God had used His power on my behalf when I was in overwhelming circumstances.  But as I dwelled on that, Satan began to whisper to me that God has never used me mightily and that for me to continue to try to be used by God is futile.  This is not the first time I have struggled with this.  In fact, it’s a constant struggle of mine.  So, I stood before the class with a trembling voice and tears in my eyes, and I began to list on the board all the times I had felt a direct leading from God, was obedient, but never saw a “mighty” work done by Him as a result.  I won’t list all those examples here, but I do know that it has only grown since then.

I still have no incredible, miraculous, mountain-moving experience that I can share here.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely blessed, have an incredible husband, I’ve experienced life to the fullest, traveled the world, and I’m always provided for.  But I’ve always desired to be obedient to the Lord and see His Hand at work because of my obedience. And I have seen His hand at work, but I guess I wanted that Jonah experience where one man goes into a great city full of sinful people and the whole city turns to God.  Even though Jonah wasn’t exactly thrilled about it, it was an amazing way to be used by God.

Here’s the problem with my thinking though…. I don’t get to choose what the result of my obedience is.  My only job is to remain faithful and obedient no matter the cost or the outcome. I’ve been searching for that “prize” for being obedient and allowing Satan to lie to me and make me believe that I’ve failed God in some way since the outcomes were not as I desired.  You can’t assume that just because God has directed you to do something, you won’t face difficulties, but rather assume you WILL face difficulties.  God being with you gives you the grace to persevere through the difficulties rather than avoid them.

Then there are several examples of prophets in the Bible whom God told to go and speak to a people group and then said, “Oh, and by the way, they aren’t going to listen to you when you speak to them.”  Say what?!  Why the heck bother to go and speak to them then?!… Why? Because God told them to.

One of the ladies from the class shared the following verse with me after class from Isaiah 49:4 which spoke directly to my heart.  “But I said, ‘I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all.  Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”‘  She also reminded me of Hebrews Chapter 11 which I have turned to MANY times for encouragement. The chapter ends by saying, “All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised.”  How disappointing is that!  To live a life of obedience and faith yet never lay your eyes on the fulfillment of that which you work so hard for the Lord for?!  But they knew that their true reward would not be while they were here on this Earth.  So, I conclude with these verses from Philippians 3:13-15, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” And Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

There are two songs that speak to me right now, here are their lyrics:


You can spend your whole life buildin’

Something’ from nothin’
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway

You can chase a dream

That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway

God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good

When I pray it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway

This world’s gone crazy and it’s hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway

You can love someone with all your heart

For all the right reasons
And in a moment they can choose to walk away
Love ’em anyway

You can pour your soul out singing
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway


“You Are I Am”

I’ve been the one to shake with fear

And wonder if You’re even here
I’ve been the one to doubt Your love
I’ve told myself You’re not enough

I’ve been the one to try and say

I’ll overcome by my own strength
I’ve been the one to fall apart
And to start to question who you are

You’re the one who conquers giants

You’re the one who calls out kings
You shut the mouths of lions
You tell the dead to breathe
You’re the one who walks through fire
You take the orphan’s hand
You are the one Messiah
You are I am

I’ve been the one held down in chains

Beneath the weight of all my shame
I’ve been the one to believe
That where I am you cannot reach

The veil is torn

And now I live with the Spirit inside
The same one, the very same one
Who brought the Son back to life

Hallelujah, He lives in me!