When I was younger I thought for sure that God would call me to the overseas mission field. I was so certain of this that I would lay in bed at night, eyes wide open, full of fear for all the things I could imagine would happen when He called me to Africa. I would read stories that scared me half to death about missionaries who would get sick, or lose spouses, or even lose their lives and I would believe that certainly if I were to “surrender all” that Christ would whisk me off to Uganda and leave me there.
Why was I so sure that this was what I was destined for?
Because I hated to travel, I hated being away from home for very long at all, and I hated unfamiliarity of any kind. I wasn’t born adventurous and I wasn’t a risk taker. As a matter of fact, my dream job was wife and mother. That was it. I just wanted to get married and raise babies.
But surely if I opened up my whole heart and whole will to God and said “God, here I am. Do what you want with me.” He would overlook everything that He had wired me toward and make me suffer, sacrifice, and live a willingly painful life full of everything I hated.
I truly believed this for a long time and it made me afraid of God. It made me resist Him. It made me keep one leg out of the covers so I was ready to run at the first sign of the word “nations”. The enemy spent years playing off these fears in different ways, laughing his head off because I startled every time I saw another “sign”.
And isn’t this how it has been from the beginning? The tactics of that snake haven’t changed. Remember how he slithered up to Eve and whispered, “God really just wants to keep you from anything good. He put that tree there because He knows that it will make you wise like Him and He doesn’t want you to be all that you could be.” Distrust of the Creator has always been a ploy and a trick used of Satan.
I might believe that this was just another one of those “quirks” of my own relationship with God, but I have seen this fear in others. I have family members who think that God only wants them so He can make them a doormat for the world. I have dear friends who are afraid that as soon as they sell out to God, He will take away things most precious to them…their children, their health, their hope for a loving relationship. Even my own teenage son has at times expressed his fear that God will make him sick to teach him not to be afraid of being sick.
Where do these personal, deep rooted fears come from? Are they from the Word? Are they from the Lord? Or are they from the pit of hell? And if they are being sown by Satan and his lying minions, what in the world are we doing letting them hold us back?
The Bible often describes God as a loving, compassionate Father.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?” Luke 11:11
Yet we often have this demonic idea that God sits on his throne in heaven just waiting for us to trust Him so that He can slay us. Maybe we get this idea from Job, but subconsciously we think that the moment we throw our hands up in surrender and ask the Lord to run things that He is going to kick us out of the boat and watch us drowned…that His greatest desire for us is to make us do everything we hate the most.
What a twisted, murderous, cheating serpent! How dare he paint such a picture in our minds of the gracious, kind Daddy that we have in heaven!
“But Candace, didn’t He convert Paul and send him out to suffer?” I’m glad you asked that question. Why yes. Yes, He did. But do you honestly believe that Paul could have been at all effective in the ministry that he was given if he didn’t have a PASSIONATE desire for it? Do you think he could have endured like he did if he would have spent it wishing that he was doing something else? Paul could only fulfill the call on his life because there was nothing else in the world that he would rather do. He had been built for this…created for it. He was fulfilling his purpose and there is nothing like a life of that.
God gave me the desires of my heart. I am a wife and a mother. Along the way, God completely revolutionized my fear of the nations by sending me to China for three of my children. The only thing that ever could have gotten me to China was children waiting for their Momma, and He walked me through every single scary, crazy feeling moment.
My “yes” to His call has meant many days of suffering, sacrifice, and pain. Days that I wouldn’t trade for anything because they came to me with the territory of wife and mother. Sacrifice, suffering,and pain just aren’t as scary when they are part of fulfilling your purpose. They look so big and mean before you surrender to God, but those giants fall like flies when you get into the Promised Land. You almost become thankful for the trials (at least in hindsight) because they make you better and they shape your desires to be more like His. Hard work just isn’t hateable when you love what you do and Who you do it for.
All this is not to say that we will understand everything that God does in and around us along the way…or that there won’t be moments that we are terrified and resistant to something He asks us to do…or there won’t be times that we are tempted to throw in the towel and give up altogether…for sure, EVERY great success in life come with all of that.
But your God, He knows the desires of your heart. He put them there.
Can I trust God? If we can’t trust the very One who created us, who sustains us, who knows every intricate detail of our minds, bodies, and hearts, who gives us ALL things for life and godliness, who carries us as a man carries his own son…who exactly can we trust?
“”For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.” Luke 11:10
“Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. ” Psalm 37:4-5
“Fear not, little flock. It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” Luke 12:32