Sunday, December 9, 2012

Trust, Obey, Be Joyful.

Another season has arrived since Ryan's diagnosis.

Green leaves, red leaves, no leaves, little leaves, green leaves, red leaves, and now no leaves again.

And here I am, still learning the same lessons over and over again.  I think that I am probably causing my Heavenly Father to facepalm several times a month - "Will this girl ever learn?"

And the answer is, no, probably not.  Even though we (Christians) continue to grow and stretch and become mature in our faith and more Christlike, I think we all have moments where we backslide or forget who is boss.  At least, I hope other people experience moments like that - anyone?  Anyone?

It seems like lately, the Lord has breathed three words into my ear.

"Kendra, my dear daughter...TRUST.  OBEY.  JOY."

And I'd like to tell you more about what I'm learning from Him.


Essentially, our relationship with our Lord boils down to a trust issue.  When we first become a Christian (side note: that was exactly 12 years ago today for me!  Happy anniversary, Jesus.  I love you), we trusted our hearts and our souls to Him.  And from that moment on, the trajectory of our relationship with God is directly proportional to our level of trust in Him.  After all, how can you have a relationship with someone that you cannot trust?

God's sovereign will is often in conflict with our human selfishness.  Anytime that He has other plans for us that would not be our choice, we are faced with the choice of whether to trust Him or to try to wrest back some semblance of control and live selfishly.  But until we take the plunge and simply make the choice (because that's all it is - a choice) to trust Him, our relationship will be stagnant and our attempts to mature in our faith will shortcircuit.  In no way can we be content in our circumstances until we simply trust.  And then choose to trust again.  And keep trusting.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 3-5


Out of the decision to trust, we are called to obey.  When I read the Bible, I don't see that the faith of the saints was one of passivity, but rather one where they almost constantly pursued advancing the kingdom of God.  I don't think that God intended for us to rest back on our laurels and enjoy the comforts of eternal security.  Personally, I think that comfort is a dangerous, dangerous place for us to be.  Comfort breeds complacency.  And complacency lets us believe the lie that we are only called to faith - but recall that faith without works is dead.

As Ryan and I have attempted to learn what it means to live in radical obedience, we've been pretty shocked at some of the stuff that He has suggested we do.  Sometimes it has been stuff that I haven't personally liked or agreed with or understood.  However, that is another exercise to trust.  Trust and obedience are intricately intertwined, and we cannot do one without the other.


Even though I don't like what God has placed in my life, even though He has asked me to do some tough stuff that I didn't want to do, I still have had to learn to live my life with joy in spite of that.  Consider that Paul tells us:

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1: 2-4

I have learned that joy is not an emotion and not akin to happiness.  Joy is a lifestyle.  Joy is being thankful for what we have, and it is a submission to the Lord's will.  It is an acknowledgement that despite pain sometimes entering our lives, despite disagreeing with the nature of the task at hand, that God's plan for our lives is always good and always best.  When I choose to live my life with joy, my attitude is one of thankfulness and peace, not bitterness and discontent.

It is a far cry from being able to write a blog about the three themes in my life, and actually living them.  Every moment that I think I've arrived, the Holy Spirit seems to shine a giant spotlight on another area of my life that needs polishing and cleaning up.  I am a total work in progress, but grateful that the Lord considers me an object worthy of his cleaning rags.


Jenni said...

Kendra, this is so great. Thank you for sharing what God is teaching you guys. It's exactly what I needed to hear this morning.

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