Immediately the words of that song pop into my head, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and OBEY!”
That’s how I’ve always pictured it too … Little trust, big obey! Like a school marm with her glasses half way down her nose, looking at me with disdain and disappointment: “Obey!”
Obedience. That’s such a scary word. Especially when referring to obedience to God. That doesn’t sound right either, does it? It’s scary to obey God? But it is when you can’t see and you don’t know and, as much as you want to, you don’t trust. After all, what might He require of me? Immediately my thoughts jump to duties and missions abroad, being pushed out of my comfort zone and facing the unknown. I don’t like to go there. I don’t want to be asked to do anything that I’m not prepared for, and I realize it’s less and less about what I believe of Him and more accurately what I believe of me. He’s able; I’m a coward…Most of the time.
Discipline doesn’t make me feel much better. The idea that someone is not pleased with me, that I’ve done something punishable, and that I’ve failed is depressing. And yet, it happens more often than I care to admit. Only with God it’s different. Even in His discipline He loves and accepts me. More often than not, even if I’m forced to eat crow, He sprinkles it with sugar so it tends to go down easier. His Word says, “[He] disciplines those He loves.” It’s why He asks anything of us to begin with…that same great love that desires to strengthen and grow us and teach us the importance of obedience.
But I’m finding that sometimes our discipline becomes an act of obedience or disobedience. It’s as if God says, “Okay, I’m going to let you discover this the hard way or the easy way. You can let this go or I can wrestle it from your hand. You can walk away now and your pain, though very real, will be less, or you can hold on and take chances until I have no choice but to break your heart completely.” Oh boy. Have I mentioned I’m often too hard headed for my own good?
But I’m learning. I’ve taken a licking and I’m still ticking! And, I’m finding that after a God sized spanking, He likes to hug and kiss and reassure us, “this hurt Me more than it hurts you!” I love the words of Christ that say, “In this world you will have trouble [whether of the enemy that desires to destroy you or whether it’s of your own rebellious will], but take heart [be courageous!] for I have overcome the world.” [additions mine] He’s exactly right. (Which doesn’t at all surprise since He is God!) And, though the thoughts of obedience and discipline scare me, I know that His plans for me are good, and He won’t lead me anywhere where He hasn’t first cut a path for me or won’t provide a pillar of fire or cloud to follow. Matter of fact, I don’t need those things. He’s placed within me a guide, a voice, His very Holy Spirit that says, “This is the way; walk in it.” I’ll admit, it’s not always easy and frequently it’s terribly frightening, but in the end, when God lovingly shows the connected dots, we will find it was worth it and, as painful as it felt, can never compare to the cross. “…He was obedient even to death on the cross.” Obedient to death. Am I really gonna freak out about a little spanking? Well, not today…That’s at least a start.