“We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God no where tells us to give up things for the sake of giving them up. He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having – life with Himself.”
~Utmost for His Highest January 8
On New Year’s Day I bought two puzzles at the Dollar Tree. One was 300 pieces, the other 500. And I soon discovered puzzles are addicting! Every time I walked to the kitchen I wanted to add a new piece – then a new section. Like nibbling on a piece of cake, I couldn’t stop until I had a straight line somewhere. A clean finished area.
I discovered that putting a 500 piece puzzle together is easier when you can look at the picture on the box. When I was stumped, I would hold a particular puzzle piece in my hand, study the picture of where it might go and usually I could find its place.
If only life was that way.
To me walking in faith is like putting together a 5,000 piece puzzle without seeing the picture on the box. I just have to figure out where each piece fits based on what I see right in front of me. There’s no big vision of how it all connects together. There’s no – oh, see where this line and color meet, that’s where it fits!
And that’s really hard for me. So what I tend to do is super-impose a picture I believe would work great, then start putting pieces together based on that plan.
Our journey to Kenya is the biggest example of this.
In 2015 Adam and I thought God was asking us to “give up” our business like it says in the above Utmost quote and move to Kenya. But He wasn’t. What He was asking of us was to be open handed with our life. With our business. With our kids. And with the end result of them all.
In Genesis 22, God tested Abraham and asked him to sacrifice his son, his only son whom he loved, as a burnt offering to the Lord. The next morning after this conversation with the Lord, Abraham headed out to the place God specified.
When he arrived, he told his servants to hang back while he and Isaac worshiped and then they would return. He handed the wood for the sacrifice to Isaac and they headed towards the place God said.
Abraham bound Isaac and laid him on the wood. He raised his knife and at that moment God spoke again, “Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (22:12)
Then lo and behold there’s a ram in the bushes, perfect for the sacrifice already prepared. Abraham named that place, The Lord will Provide.
That story connects deeply with me as I look back on our Kenya journey now almost 5 years ago.
Abraham thought he was to sacrifice his son. In fact, that’s what God said!
We thought we were to sacrifice or walk away from our business and go to Kenya. For many years I thought I heard God wrong somewhere, but no, in fact that’s what He said! He even provided for the plane tickets and extra expenses we had.
But halfway through our stay – just when we were ready to commit 100% and figure out the details of living in Kenya, God said, “Wait. I’m not finished with you in Mineola Texas. Go home.”
It’s easy for me to ask, What’s the purpose in all this Lord? Can you not make up your mind? One minute you say Go to Kenya, the next, Go home.
If only I had the picture on the box to look at!
Instead of asking us to sacrifice the business He gave us, He was asking if we would let Him have His way in all areas of our life. Including this one that we held so dear.
God was asking if I was willing to let everything pale – die away – in comparison to loving and walking with Him in deep relationship. Was I willing to trust when I didn’t know what the whole picture looks like. When I don’t know where this piece goes, but I know He knows and will show me in His time.
God wasn’t asking me to sacrifice the big things for Him. He desires my faith more than sacrifice. He was asking for total surrender of my heart when I couldn’t see the whole picture!