Grace in Obedience and otherwise


I’ve heard it said “obedience is all that matters.” I can agree with this statement and then part of me disagrees with this statement. Let me explain why. Obedience to the calling of Christ in every single moment of every single day – allowing Him to do what He wants to accomplish through you – IS where it’s at, friends! However, there are times we don’t obey and I am not suggesting that is right – it’s just not – but it still matters. Why? Because EVERYTHING matters to Him. HE WORKS ALL THINGS FOR GOOD – so it has to matter. The fact that we are sometimes not obedient also works for His glory because He is sovereign and mighty. Please don’t think I am suggesting disobedience, I certainly am not – just want to say that EVERYTHING matters to Him. Everything. And His goal is a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him – whether that is accomplished by success or failure, highs or lows, laughter or tears, or even obedience or disobedience. He uses it to draw us closer to Him. And it matters.

Have you ever KNOWN God was telling you to do something very specific and you just didn’t do it? I am talking about the kind of overwhelming, zero question, man this is very clear kind of calling. I believe we are called to act every day but there are very, very few times in my life I’ve been absolutely, 100% overwhelmingly convinced that God was sitting literally right beside me, poking me on the shoulder and saying “do this. Right now.”

One weekday a few years ago, I was driving to my sister’s house to pick up my daughter. In driving to her house, there is a cemetery – a small, quaint little cemetery. I drove past the cemetery that day and noticed a car there and a man standing at a gravesite. I was going down the road so of course I don’t remember all the details, but the picture was clear. It was late in the afternoon and it was raining. As I approached this picture, God said to me ever so clearly “go pray with that man.” Guess what I did? Laughed. I am embarrassed to tell you that I laughed. I’m further embarrassed to tell you that the conversation that ensued between God and me was a bit ridiculous on my part. My response was “okay, really? “ Him “yes. Go pray with that man.” So in my head I had the following thoughts:

  1. God is NOT telling me to go pray with a stranger in the middle of a CEMETERY – that’s dangerous. He’d never put me in danger like that.
  2. God wouldn’t tell me to stop in the rain to pray with a STRANGER – much less a man – that’s dangerous. He’d never put me in danger like that.
  3. I have to pick up my daughter – that’s NOT fair to my sister  – That’s what He would want.
  4. I am crazy. I make up stuff in my head too much. Do I really know God at all that I would have such an asinine thought on my own? I can’t do anything right.

After each one of those thoughts He said to me “turn around and go pray with that man.” I ignored it. I drove down the road and to my sister’s house. I even felt guilty. I KNEW I was being disobedient. I just knew it. And I had that feeling in your gut you can’t shake. So after I picked up my daughter I drove back past the cemetery to see if he was still there. He wasn’t. I can’t even explain to you the feeling of missed opportunity I had. I don’t know why God called me to go pray with that man and guess what? I won’t know this side of heaven why He was calling me to that. I do know, however, that I missed out on a blessing He would’ve given me and who knows – maybe that man as well. I missed the chance to be used by Him. That is a crappy feeling, is it not? I cannot tell you just how many times I have driven by that cemetery saying “please God, let him be there. I promise you I will stop and pray with him.” He hasn’t been there again in the MANY times I’ve driven past. God wanted to use me in His timing and I ignored it.

I will never forget that day and I wonder all the time what He was trying to do in that. Here is how God used that in my walk with Him – I know I was disobedient. I know I didn’t do what He was telling me to do. I know it was Him calling me to act and I didn’t do it. However, He loves me so much, He simply used it to remind me of the following by moving simple words in my original thought:

  1. God is NOT telling me to go pray with a stranger in the middle of a CEMETERY – that’s NOT dangerous. He’d never put me in danger like that.
  2. God would NOT tell me to stop in the rain to pray with a STRANGER – much less a man – that’s NOT dangerous. He’d never put me in danger like that.
  3. I have to pick up my daughter – that’s NOT fair to my sister  – That’s NOT what He would want.
  4. I am crazy. I make up stuff in my head too much. Do I really know God at all that I would have such an asinine thought on my own? I can’t do anything right ON MY OWN.

Be obedient! It matters! And when you find yourself disobedient – let Him speak to you on what matters and what He is trying to show you!

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