When the answer is no….

Recently, something didn’t go my way. Something that I have wanted to participate in for two summers now. And I found myself handling it well. Yeah, no. Again, in full transparency with this blog, I found myself crying pitifully and sulking for an entire day over the unfairness of it all. I found myself acting like a child who didn’t get my way. I even had the audacity to think that I was entitled to doing this particular thing. That I had earned the opportunity. I found myself questioning God about this “no” to something I wanted and even asked to do. The truth is that I don’t understand why this particular door is being closed, leaving me frustrated.

I pray that I am not the only one. Being told “no” is not easy for anyone, especially when you can not make sense of the answer. Yet, after my day of sulking, I began to consider that God has His reasons. I remembered that He is a good Father and that He requires my obedience and trust, which led me into His Word this morning.

In 1 Chronicles 28, we see that David had a desire in his heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord. But, God tells him that he is not to build a house for His name. God tells David that his son, Solomon will be the one to build His house and courts. David responded in obedience and he chose to focus on the many ways that God had used him, time and time again. He chose to focus on the abundance of “yeses” and blessings that God had given him. And then he went to work setting up his son to succeed in this task.

After some reflection, I have shifted from this one “no” to the many “yeses” that God has provided in my life. I look forward to seeing what new ways that He would like for me to serve Him in the future. I will trust in His perfect plan and timing. My frustration has now turned to joy. And anticipation. So, I will join David in praying,

“Praise be to you, Lord , the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, Lord , is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you.” 1 Chronicles 29:10‭-‬18 NIV

Be joyful!

“Then David said to the whole assembly, ‘Praise the Lord, your God.’ So they all praised the Lord, the God of their fathers; they bowed down, prostrating themselves before the Lord and the king.” 1 Chronicles 29:20

Dream Small…

Dream small!
Don’t buy the lie you’ve gotta do it all.
Just let Jesus use you where you are.
One day at a time.
Live well!
Loving God and others as yourself.
Find little ways where only you can help.
With His great love.
A tiny rock can make a giant fall.
Dream small!”

These lyrics by Josh Wilson have really left me pondering. I love the message: simple obedience in our daily walk can add up to a lifetime of huge changes in our world for Christ. Missionary William Carey said, “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” More often than not, those great attempts by us allow God to do monumental, remarkable, life changing things!

Recently, there has been a very disfigured young man who has begun working out at our gym. He obviously is battling a type of disorder, which limits his mobility as well. His workout buddy is another man who based on appearance alone might be considered a rough and tough dude. He has lots of tattoos including several on his face. He used to work out by himself at the gym and he always kept to himself.

But, over the last month, he meets the disfigured young man and works out with him. He is gentle and caring to this young man. He even helps him with his ear buds and fixing the weights on the equipment. They both still very much keep to themselves; but, the message this man has taught me has made a lasting impression. We are called to make a difference in our community and serve others like Christ. Quietly. Obediently. Without public recognition.

We live in a world where everyone is looking for their 15 minutes of fame. Everyone wants that reality television, youtube or vine notariety. Even our service to God can fall into this trap. We look for the big moments where we can make a big splash. We even boast about what we are doing for God on social media, shifting the focus from God working through us to me, myself and I.

Yet, this rough looking man reminds me through his kindness how important it is that we attempt small acts of obedience everyday. And that we should never judge a book by its cover. Go visit that friend in the hospital; teach that Sunday school class; send that text of encouragement to your friend who is struggling; celebrate birthdays; volunteer with a child in need; listen to your teenage daughter when a boy breaks her heart; bake that pie for a friend after surgery; stop and pray for those in need; mow your yard; do the laundry; the list of small acts of kindness and obedience goes on and on.

Keep loving, keep serving,
Keep listening, keep learning,
Keep praying, keep hoping,
Keep seeking, keep searching,
Out of these small things and watch them grow bigger.
The God who does all things makes oceans…from river.” (Josh Wilson, Dream Small)

Yes, dream small and serve God through the mundane, every day tasks of life. Before you know it, He will reveal that these dreams were never small. They are all part of His story, His dreams, His plans, His glory. And trust me, it doesn’t get much bigger or better than that!

Be joyful!

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:1‭-‬4‭, ‬6 NIV