What I Thought God Wanted

A man stood before God listening intently; he wanted to catch every single word of instruction.

“Do you see that boulder there?” God asked. “The one on the very edge of the precipice. I created it and placed it exactly there with you in mind. This is your mission, your calling. I want you to push that boulder.”

“That’s all God?” The man glanced down at his puny physique and felt a flush of shame redden his cheeks. It doesn’t seem like a very important job, he thought. At the same time, doubt clashed with his indignation. What if I’m not strong enough to move that huge rock, he wondered.

“That is exactly what I made you to do,” God affirmed. “I will always be with you. Don’t worry, you can do all things through my strength.”

So the man set his shoulder against the stone. Day in and day out, night after long night, he pressed on. Over time, his shoulders broadened with sinewy muscle. His skin grew dark and tan at first, then weathered and ruddy. His shoulder bruised. Once or twice, he pulled back and looked at the massive rock. It hadn’t moved a millimeter.

The voice of doubt reached a fevered pitch in his mind: I’m failing. The one, seemingly insignificant thing God gave me to do and I can’t even manage that. And where is God? I thought He was going to help me—be my strength! Maybe I didn’t hear Him right. Maybe He’s not even pleased with all my work. I only wanted to be obedient. I’m sure someone else could do a better job.

Just then, he felt a presence behind him. His Lord stood there, quietly assessing the tired man and the stone. “I’m sorry, God,” the man whispered. “I couldn’t move it even one tiny bit.”

Jesus reached out a scarred hand and tipped the man’s face up to look Him in the eyes. “What are you talking about?” He asked gently. “I never asked you to move the stone. I only asked you to push it.”

My pastor told that story in a message about finishing well. He quoted Paul in 1 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

My hearted perked up with his words. I’ve felt like that! In particular, I have prayed and prayed and prayed for my husband to love the Lord with all his heart and to lead our family spiritually. (I’ve also employed some unsuccessful tactics like pleading and bribing.) Now, 15 years later, I’m tired, I feel like a failure and I want to quit.

As a Christian wife, I know that my most important assignment on earth is to help my husband become the man God created him to be. God brought us together; He created me to be my husband’s helpmate. Sometimes this appointment seems mundane and unimportant compared to world-wide evangelism and other lofty callings. Other times, it seems like much more than I can handle; it feels like I have sweated and struggled to no avail.

As I listened to the sermon, I felt Jesus’ presence. I turned my heart to listen.

“Daughter,” He said. “I never told you to change your husband. I assigned you to be his helpmate. You put a great burden on yourself when you expect a specific outcome or result. You are only to obey me—be his helpmate. I will be the one to move and change him in my time. But, do you see what good has come of your labor? You, yourself have grown strong. When you were tired and weary, you learned to rest in me. You’ve gained some calluses and bruises, but now you are wiser, too.”

Whether it be our hopes and dreams for a certain type of marriage or something else, our lives and sanity depend on understanding specifically what God has called us to do. He has not called us to bring about an outcome, only to allow Him to use us in the process.

“So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.” Colossians 1:28-29 (emphasis added)

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I QUIT, Wait, I Lied… can i have my job back?

Since we returned from our trip to visit family in Oklahoma and Kansas, I have quit my job five times. To spare myself further embarrassment, I won’t let you read all the emails that I sent to my boss. Here’s an example:

John, I just have too much going on. I have so many commitments and only 24 hours a day and as much as I love working at South Run, I just can’t do it!

Ok, I changed my mind. I enjoy the income and it’s not that many hours. Can I just work on Monday and not on Saturday?

Wait, wait, wait. I need to just quit working. Can I just volunteer? I need the flexibility.

OK, I’m really, really sorry. Just ignore all previous emails and I’ll keep working my regular schedule. Sorry, I’m just over dramatic and easily ruffled. I just had to catch back up with life after being out of town for 2 weeks. I’ll be OK.

What’s really embarrassing, is that I’ve done all this before, at other jobs. I have also applied, gotten hired, panicked and quit before I ever started. I know, by now you’re convinced that I’m a total flake and you’re really glad that I’m not working for you. Right?

Most of my extracurricular activities revolve around my desire to serve Christ and others for the benefit of His kingdom. Whenever I am asked to serve at the church, to help with a particular ministry, to encourage a downcast Christian, to volunteer somewhere or to join another Bible study, I’m loathe to decline.

By Thursday, I was laden with guilt. What kind of a witness for Christ can a flake possibly be? But is it OK to turn down the opportunity to do something for someone else or for a good cause in the name of Christ?

Anxious to serve his Master, [the Christian] finds his strength unequal to his zeal: his constant cry is, “Help me to serve thee, O my God.” If he be thoroughly active, he will have much labour; not too much for his will, but more than enough for his power, so that he will cry out, “I am not wearied of the labour, but I am wearied in it.” Ah! Christian, the hot day of weariness lasts not forever; the sun is nearing the horizon; it shall rise again with a brighter day than thou hast ever seen upon a land where they serve God day and night, and yet rest from their labours. Here, rest is but partial, there, it is perfect.  – Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

So, in the spirit of anti-resolution, I commit to dissolve my over commitments and my self-imposed efforts to further Christ’s kingdom.

Father, use me as much as, and only as much as, you desire. And leave enough of my frail energies as to fully devote myself to fellowship with you!

Women are Inferior To Men…

The Bible says women are inferior to men.  

You’re being a doormat to treat him with such respect when he doesn’t return the favor.

You’ve heard it.

Recently, my little sister’s boss asked her the $24,000 question.  As a mom-to-be and a new home owner, her priorities are shifting.  In the midst of an unrelated conversation he asked, “Do you think your husband’s job is more important that yours?”

Wow, feminists, I can hear you roaring!  I smell the bacon frying and you’re on your way back out the door to trample on every man who gets in your way.

Kelsey said, “Yes.”  Now, there are plenty of logical reasons – Kelsey is going to be taking maternity leave at the very least and be unable to work for a while, and Blake makes more money, to name two.  But really, she told me, her heart is committed to the Biblical description of Christian behavior.  She is proud of and loves her home.  She is anxious to fill their new house with baby things, a loving atmosphere and if she’s lucky – puppies!  Kelsey does not plan to sign her life away to a progressive career before her first child is even born.

So, Christian, is a woman inferior to a man?   Can she achieve less?  Is she doomed to servanthood all her days?

“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”  1 Peter 3:1,2

I can hear you protesting.  Did you only look at those two verses?  Step back, take in the full view.  Start in 1 Peter 2:13-25.  I’ll excerpt some of it for you.

“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.” (v.13) …jump…

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His footsteps.” (v. 21)  Jesus was abused, ignored, reviled and slandered.  Even in the worst of circumstances, Jesus submitted himself without retaliation or indignation.  He entrusted himself to God, who judges justly.

If Jesus Christ submitted Himself to the Father’s will in order to ransom me, then, can I not submit myself to any authority figure, knowing that ultimately (whether they realize it or not) I am subjected to and judged justly by God?

And men, don’t think you’re off the hook!  Just a few verses down, there’s another “Likewise.”

The command to submit is not limited to women any more than salvation is limited to men.  Christ-like behavior is to, “Honor everyone.  Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:17

“Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 13:10