Do I HAVE to?
I was excited; looking forward to attending a seminar at my church. I knew it would be both interesting and helpful. But there was one small hitch. The meeting was not to be held at our church premises which are just 5 minutes away. It was to be held instead in an area I’d never driven to. It wasn’t a long drive – perhaps only 15 minutes away. But... I’d be driving in the dark. And into brand new territory.
Those who know me well know that driving is not something that comes naturally to me. I got my license after I turned 50. My reflexes are not those of a 16 year old. Multi-tasking challenges me. No! Driving has not come easy for this little lady. And so… I was a trifle nervous. I studied the Google maps. I worked out a possible route. I asked my beloved if he’d accompany me to test out my driving route. Bless the man, he did.
My plan didn’t work out too well I must admit. I took a wrong turn. We ended up somewhere different. Thankfully, with some concerted effort on my part and timely help from my driving partner, we finally made our way there safely. Hooray! A good thing I tried it out beforehand, don’t you think? The next morning, I had a fresh challenge. A request from a friend asking for a ride to the event. Gee… God was testing me thoroughly, wasn’t He? But I knew I had to say yes. I started re-checking my Google maps with purpose.
Guess what! My friend called later to say she was getting a ride and so I was off the hook. When I admitted to her that I was nervous about driving there, she thoughtfully suggested I ask someone for a ride. I almost did. But then… I knew what God required of me that day. Not to shirk the challenge. To stretch my trust muscles and my driving abilities. To drive there on my own. And so I said ‘Yes’ to Him.
I zoomed off into the sunset that night – my Google map on the passenger seat next to me. I safely reached my destination. Intact. Whole. Alive. My fears had been groundless. I parked my car. I got out. I joined the rest of my church family and we had a wonderful evening. And what about the drive back? Do you know – that was even better. There was little traffic on the road at 10 p.m. so I flew on eagles wings. I returned home in no time. And may I share a secret? I even enjoyed the drive. Yes, I did. Yes, I did.
Sometimes when God calls me to do something difficult, my immediate reaction is often not what it should be. I might say ‘Do I have to Lord?” even though I know in my heart all that He requires of me. There is only one way to please God isn’t it? And it's very simple.
Remember the old hymn? I believe it expresses it beautifully.
“Trust and Obey,
There’s no other way,
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.” John H Sammis 1887
Today, what does God call me to do?
His scriptures are clear about His general will for me each day.
To surrender myself to Him
To worship Him
To spend time with Him
To trust Him implicitly
To live a life saturated in thanksgiving and praise
To be holy and blameless
To please Him
To walk and talk with Him
To love God and to love others
To bless His world
But then, He often asks me to step out of my comfort zone to do something more; something specific; something difficult. It might be…..
To drive somewhere new in the dark (yes, that one’s for me)
To befriend a lonely person
To forgive someone’s who’s hurt me
To stand up for injustice
To lift the fallen
To encourage the hurting
To use/sacrifice my time, talents or treasures to bless others
To speak when I’d rather stay silent
To stay silent when I’d rather speak
To do something new that is difficult
What will my response be this time? Will I say 'Do I have to, Lord?"
Or will I say ‘Yes Lord’,
with a cheery smile on my face,
a willing heart,
and a will that bends to His own?
“Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Jesus
“He (Jesus) humbled himself and became obedient to death
– even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8
“And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 10:12