July 24, 2008

One Way Out: Part Final

“Return to me with all your heart. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God.” ~ Joel 2:12-13

Not the job for you. Not the job for you. Those words rattled in my head. Here’s a breakdown of the timeline:
Four weeks out from the Event: Interview; offered nanny job; God says “Turn it down and quit your job.”
Three weeks out from the Event: Interview; offered ministry job; God says “Turn it down and quit your job.”
Two weeks out from the Event: No interview; no offer; God says “Quit your job.”

God had required me to quit all along, with or without a job. Selfishly I resisted, serving fear and mistrust as my gods. Finally, without a day to spare, I stepped off the cliff and fell right into the hands of God. Turning in my two weeks notice, the oddest thing happened. My old director offered me my job back. You got it. She asked me to stay! She’d make an offer, I’d reject it. Round and round we went. I could take personal leave the day of the Event. Or call in sick. Pretend I never gave her notice. Convinced I didn’t mean to quit, she refused to accept my letter. Leaving her office, I was confused. Did I or didn’t I quit?

Satan opened every door of opportunity and tempted me to stay. Immediately Jesus being tempted in the desert by Satan came to mind. He had one ultimate response: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only" (Matt. 10:4).

The light turned on. God wasn’t as concerned with if I hosted the Event with Pro-Choice orgs. No, He is most concerned with my obedience. It was my quitting He focused on; it was the if I would quit that mattered. Would I walk in the ways He commanded? Would I worship and serve Him alone? As 1 Samuel 15:22 encourages, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice.”

My view of things shifted. This wasn’t a story of me against abortion and all the bad guys. It was a story of me against my flesh. With two main characters: the Lord and me. When that reality set it, things became clear. The Lord delights in obedience! Who am I to steal God’s delight?! After all, “He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing” (Joel 2:13-14).

He may turn and leave behind a blessing. Indeed He did. The ministry contacted me again. “Things have changed ... we are totally restructuring and have a new position.” God laid it on the director’s heart to step out in faith and create a brand new job. And, a friend of the ministry felt the need to give a substantial donation that paved the way for my salary! The day after I quit my job, I interviewed with the ministry. The next week they extended an offer!

Waiting for a new job and jumping off my cliff of faith drilled me to the core. Face to face with all the dross to be burned away was heart-breaking. I never realized the layers of doubt and mistrust. Has the Lord asked a difficult thing of you? Where is He gently pressing your heart and asking you to obey? Do you trust the Creator of the universe to create a secure future for you? I know it’s difficult to rend our hearts and return all our heart to the Lord. But our hearts, our lives, are rightfully His, and we can only ever serve one god: fear and our own agenda; or the Living God. Which will you serve today?

Reflecting on this time, God’s kindness and gracious goodness stand out the most to me. I pray you sense those dear attributes of our King as well today.

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