by Andy Lee @WordsByAndyLee
Why do we believe that if God calls us to something, it will be smooth sailing, wonderful, and great?
Why do we begin to doubt God when we step out in faith, and it doesn’t turn out as we planned, or as we thought we heard?
Why are we so easily discouraged?
Discouragement is sneaky. He loves to slither his skinny, slimy self around my ankles and trip me.
But God is faithful.
He doesn’t turn my attempts into grand successes. But he does always lead me to an answer, to his wisdom. To a place of peace and resolve–to a place where I keep marching on.
We don’t have to read much of the Bible to discover that great biblical characters, God’s chosen, called, people did not get exactly what they expected when they said yes to the call.
Abraham didn’t have a son until he was too old to have one.
Moses spent forty years in the desert with the Israelites and did not enter the Promised Land.
David found himself running for his life from King Saul.
The disciples watched their Messiah die.
Mary helplessly watched Jesus cry out to God, “My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?”
I wrote about Mary standing at the foot of the cross in A Mary Like Me. Here’s an excerpt:
I can hear her crying out, Oh, God, I don’t understand! Let me take his place! Why is this happening?
I’m sure her mind flooded with memories of the past. Perhaps, as she watched Jesus, the Savior of the Jews and all mankind, die, she realized with each memory that nothing of Jesus’s life was what she expected it would be.
His birth should have been her first clue that his life would not be as she dreamed–that cold, painful, lowly birth. She never expected to give birth to any of her children away from her family, out in the open, under the sky . . . much less the Son of God. She laid the Christ-child in a trough filled with hay–the Christ child! Mary did her best to keep him clean in that stable. But when Mary laid him in that makeshift cradle, she knew she had nothing to give Jesus–nothing but her love. And so as she stood beneath her dying son, she again found herself helpless and unable to give him anything but her presence.
I’m sure, with the memory of his birth, her heart was flooded with the images of angels and shepherds gathering around this family of three and giving praise to God. Would they come to proclaim her son the King and remove him from the splintered cross? (A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called, p. 174-175).
No. They did not come.
|The call of God is not for quitters.|
But we know the rest of the story. The glorious story. Yet, I don’t want us to miss how difficult and confusing the scene was for Mary and the others. For a brief moment, even Jesus himself felt forsaken.
The call of God is not for quitters.
It’s not for those who live by their feelings and what they see.
It’s only for those of us who will continue to believe even when we are tired and worn, confused and rejected. It’s only for the ones who will cling to God’s promises and goodness to the bitter end and trust him, even when we don’t understand.
If you don’t believe me, read Hebrews 11. It’s the Hall of Fame of faith.
All of these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised, they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted they were aliens and strangers on earth. . . God had planned something better . . . Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured so much opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 11:13, 40, 12:2,3).
Fix your eyes on Jesus. Not your success or lack thereof. Not someone else’s success. Or what you thought the call would look like.
Plant your vision on Jesus, only Jesus.
And don’t grow weary and lose heart.
Know that God has something better planned.
Andy Lee is the author of A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called (Leafwood 2016) and The Book of Ruth Key Word Bible Study (AMG 2015). She is a Bible teacher, blogger, event speaker, and mom to three grown children and her kitty named Hank. Andy loves to teach people how to dig deep to live fully on her website, www.wordsbyandylee.com and her daily Facebook broadcast, Bite of Bread. Follow her on Facebook and watch at 8:20 each morning EST for soul nourishment.