I’ve shared of some recent “funks” when I’ve been struggling. God continues to be so patient with me. Who else can tolerate my constant asking questions and then getting grumpy when I don’t like the answer? J
That’s what happened. I’d been asking God for direction and then when He provided it, I didn’t like it. Instead of being awed that He would answer, I got mad at what He said. (Proof that these blog posts are really written for me!)
As I’ve asked for God’s leading, His response is pointing into a direction that feels way beyond me. It’s different. It’s going to be hard.
My response was why? Why do I have to keep doing hard? Haven’t I done enough hard? Why can’t I just press the cruise button and let things be as they are?
This is the question God’s answered most recently. This time I am a bit awed that He answered because this wasn’t really a question – it was mostly a complaint. But God in his patient mercy answered me any way…. Through the book Kisses from Katie.
In a chapter I just read, she shares about her return to the States after spending a year in Uganda starting a ministry God laid on her heart. The transition back to such abundance and convenience from such poverty and struggle was difficult. As she processed the adjustments she finally realized what was making her so disgruntled. It really wasn’t the taking-things-for-granted, the excessiveness, or even the lackadaisical attitude toward the Ugandan people that had so little. It was the difference in her relationship with God.
When she lived in Uganda, caring for a family of 6 orphans she adopted, and 150 students she sponsored for school, plus the multitudes in the surrounding villages for which she cared and ministered to, she relied every second of every day on God – for safety, for health, for provision, for even the most basic of daily needs. She never knew where the funds would come from, but she knew God would provide. She never knew if she’d get another day for herself or with one that she loved, but she knew she was there right then. Her life was one of constant dependence and connection. And that resulted in an amazing relationship of intimacy and joy.
But in the States, she didn’t need to be dependent. If she got sick, she went to the pharmacy for some medicine. If she was lonely, she visited her family. If she needed guidance, she’d chat with her roommate. If she needed to get somewhere, she’d hop in her car. Everything she needed was so readily at her finger tips she didn’t need to go to God and thus was forgetting to go to Him first.
This is what bothered her most about being back in the States. This is what she missed most about being away from Uganda. This was more important than anything and why she returned to Uganda for good after one semester home.
And this was my answer.
God doesn’t give us hard because He’s a slave driver. He leads us into hard so we can experience the richness of connection with Him – the ultimate purpose for which we were created. As I sat there and whined and complained about how I’d already done enough hard, I was ignoring all of the rich benefits that came from those hard times – the growth, the freedom, the intimacy, the witness to others.
When I move into this new direction God’s pointing too, it is beyond me. And that’s a good thing as much as it scares me. It’s good because I won’t be able to do it alone. Even the challenges I’ve faced these past 4 years in returning to the classroom have built my reliance on God and given witness to His miraculous provision completely separate from me. How much more so in the years ahead.
God is not calling me to Hard. He’s calling me to Himself.
There’s no way I’m going to turn that down no matter how scary it feels.