Last week, I wrote a blog called Three Conditions to Being a Disciple. The three conditions are: denying to ourselves (saying no to ourselves), taking up our cross (saying yes to God), and following Christ.
We have two choices when something comes into our life we never would have desired or asked for. I'll use the example of when my daughter was born totally blind.
I had two choices. I could be bitter and resentful, or I could accept God's will for my life.
Did you know there's a short cut to having peace in our lives? We can accept what God allows into our lives. Amy Carmichael, Irish missionary in India, said, "In acceptance lieth peace."
We don't have to go through the five stages of grief. I can say that because I didn't go through them when Mary was born blind. I didn't even know they existed.
I did grieve with my husband upon hearing that our daughter was born without any eyes, and we clung to one another (I physically clutched my husband's arm) and the tears fell into my ears as I lay in my hospital bed moments after my little daughter was born. My husband wept, too. But we did not stay there.
"Weeping remains for a night, but joy comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5)
We did weep, and we did go before the Lord seeking comfort from Him. For in acceptance, we found peace.
The Bible tells us that God works all things for good for those who love Him. We don't have to know how He is going to do that, we only need to know that He is going to do that. He is fully worthy of our trust. I keep this sign where we all walk by it frequently:
Our daughter is sixteen now. She is an absolute love-bug. She adores singing! Please pray for her (Mary) as you read this, for she is singing this Thursday night for over 2oo people. Please pray Christ's light will shine through her, for His glory! I'll try to post it after the event!☺
A young woman named Betty Scott Stam wrote a prayer, that became a life prayer for me several years before Mary was born. I love this prayer and want to share it with you, for it reminds me of my life purpose and commitment to God.
You too, can make the commitment to God in this prayer, right now, as you are reading this blog:
"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever."
Betty had no idea that the cost of following God's will in her life would cost her, her life. In 1934, Betty was beheaded by Chinese Communists, just a short time after she prayed that prayer.
None of us knows what tomorrow will bring, but we know who holds tomorrow. No matter if you are 2o or 3o or 4o or 60—none of us knows the future, but we can trust the God who loves us.
I could trust Jesus when my daughter was born blind, because I knew He loved me. Now that's a big thing—having a child born blind. I had to give up my right as the happy mother of a child born with eyes—for the rest of my life as mother to my child.
Betty Scott Stam's being martyred was an even bigger thing.
Most of us are not going to have to face anything huge and heroic. It is in the little things that we can take up our cross.
... When your husband wants to do something one way, and you want to do it another.
... When a person jumps in line in front of you, and you had been waiting first.
... When a driver cuts you off in traffic.
... When someone does the unforgiveable thing to you.
Everyday we can take up our cross when we die to our preferences. If we cannot die in the tiny, unselfish ways, then how will we ever die to ourself in the big things? It is a willing to die to self.
Will we die to ourselves? Can we say, Lord, I give up my right to myself, and I want to be your servant and choose your way. I want to follow you, no matter the cost.
Take up the cross, and follow Him.
The rich young ruler in the Bible walked sadly away from Jesus because he was too rich to follow Him.
We can be
... too busy (happened to me yesterday, and I wrongly chose "my way" selfishly not getting off the computer when my husband came home from work. This was wrong. I've asked for forgiveness! I am a Christian, and my action in that little thing said, "God, I'm going to act as though you don't exist, and just keep on doing what I want to do, not what You want me to do." I'm a stay-at-home mom, and I can choose the unselfish choice by honoring my husband and thereby obeying God by following Christ in this tiny thing.)
... too smart
... too rich
to follow Him.
In the next 24 hours, you are going to have the chance to die to your own way (we both will!), and to die to your (our!) preferences, and follow Christ's way. Will you give up your right to yourself? Will you say, "Yes, Lord! I'll say no to myself and say yes to You!"
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Walk by Faith,