Friday, August 9, 2013
Obedience Before Blessings
On Monday night, I was getting ready for bed and out of nowhere I felt like God was telling me to do something specific. Usually when God speaks to me it's more an impression than actual words, but this time it felt like I was getting direct orders from Heaven. He was asking me to give up something that seemed like a lot to ask. In the grand scheme of things it was really a small matter, but in my mind it was worth a fight with God. I went to bed still determined to have my own way.
I don't know why I think I can argue with God and win. It doesn't happen. Because, even if I do get my own way, I end up finding myself in worse shape than if I'd just obeyed in the first place. Going into any argument with God, I know that I will probably end up doing what he is telling me to, but I think maybe, just maybe this time I can persuade him to see it my way. (I hope you're realizing the irony in that statement!)
Lately I have been trying to get myself in the habit of waking up earlier, instead of rolling out of bed 10 minutes before I have to be out the door. So Tuesday morning I woke up at 5:45 am, poured a large cup of coffee, and sat down at the table to read my bible for a few minutes. This seems to be a good way to get my day started in the right direction. I wanted to read the parable of the Prodigal Son, so I flipped to the New Testament, but I didn't remember exactly where it was. (I'm convinced the parables wander around and trade places while my bible is closed because I can never find the one I'm looking for!) So as I was flipping through Matthew, reading the headings of each section looking for the one I wanted, another parable heading grabbed my attention. It was the parable of the rich, young ruler.
I've read this parable at least a million times in my years of Christian school, AWANA, Sunday School, weekly church services and teaching bible studies, but never before has it really resonated with me. I am not rich by any stretch of the imagination. I don't have bags of money laying around my house, like I always imagine the rich, young ruler having. I barely get by on my bi-weekly, part-time job paycheck. After bills are paid and my SUV's gas tank is filled I have barely enough money to get groceries and make it to my next paycheck many weeks.
Needless to say, God knew I needed to read that parable with a fresh perspective and used it to speak to the very area that I had been battling him about the night before. That parable tore my argument and my resolve to shreds and I knew I had to do it. I had to cut up my credit card and stop relying on it to provide, instead of the Lord. I was still struggling with it, but I grabbed the scissors and did it anyway.
My car has given me countless issues over the 5 years that I've had it. Problem after problem has come up, each as expensive and frustrating as the next. I have a friend who happens to be a mechanic and was recently hired at the dealership I take my car to. I talked to him about the newest issue I was having, a check engine light that had been on for a couple months. (Oops!) He had me take the car to the dealership to find out what was wrong. After he looked at it and diagnosed the newest problem, I had a feeling it was going to be expensive. And given that God had just made me cut up my credit card that morning, I was a bit annoyed and kind of wanted to cry! He said he would find out if it was covered under my warranty. But knowing that I was a bit over the 100,000 miles, I knew it wasn't.
Driving home I said "God, I believe that you know what you're doing, but I don't see a good outcome in this situation. You know I have like $15 in my bank account. I don't know how you're going to do this, but I know I didn't shred that credit card for nothing." Maybe that wasn't the most theologically sound prayer I could have prayed, but that was all I had in that moment.
My friend called me that night with great news, it would be covered under the warrant and to bring it in the next day to be fixed free of charge! On the way there
I contemplated getting my filthy car washed, but because money is so tight and I don't know how the mechanics feel working on a dripping wet car, I opted to wait.
Paperwork was filled out and I waited semi anxiously in the lounge, somehow knowing there was a mix up and I would be handed a $500 bill on my way out. The woman helping me came to walk me to my waiting car. As we walked out the door she said, "You're all set. And it even got a car wash."