The Lord had said to Abram,
“Go from your country, your people and your father’s household
to the land I will show you.
Following your dream – rather, following God’s dream – is one of humanity’s great adventures. Something for which we are made. Our lives have their greatest significance when we follow God’s leading and live out God’s dream.
Abram (who becomes Abraham) followed what God had said to him. It wasn’t easy. Nor quick. He spent years before he saw the fulfillment of God’s promise. And even then he saw only part of what God promised. Along the way, he made mistakes often. Along the way, he experienced doubt and family discord and loss.
Sometimes we think if we could just get it right… if we could just discern God’s will… if we would hear clearly what God is saying then it will all be all right. But it won’t. We may find ourselves broke, alone, and wounded. Many of the faithful ones of God experienced suffering and even death because they said “yes” to God. Jesus himself reaches the climax of his mission in suffering and death. Should we expect anything different?
Too often we think, and I have thought and counseled and even preached a gospel of “everything will be all right.” It will but perhaps not now. It will but perhaps not here. To follow God’s vision for your life is always right – it will not always turn out all right.
Twice in my life I have made a big career change. In both cases, I experienced a significant financial loss. In both cases, I lost a security net and, even more, a sense of security in leaving “my country and my people.” In both cases, people were confused or uncertain about what I had done. People questioned the rightness of my choice. It was right in both cases. Even now I am experiencing some of the cost in multiple ways of having left ministry when I did. It was still the right decision. It was still what God led me to do.
It was right in both cases. Even now I am experiencing some of the cost in multiple ways of having left ministry when I did. It was still the right decision. It was still what God led me to do. It may not all “work out” – meaning some things lost are lost for good. Some costs (by which I mean not just financial but also relational, social, emotional, etc.) won’t get repaid.
I would be wrong to compare my experiences of following God’s will in great and small moments to the suffering of Christ or the deaths of the martyrs. But saying “yes” to God always costs us. The journey of faith will lead to places where did not want to go and might not have gone had we known. But it is always worth it. So say “yes.”