Obeying Despite Consequences

Man what a month it has been.  I try not to whine all over this blog every time (haha) – so let me just say this month was a bruiser and I have not reacted so well to all we’ve encountered.

Our friend, and mentor (really our own personal Pastor this past two years), Bryan McAnally, posted this quote yesterday and it resonated through me:

Faith is not believing without evidence, it is obeying despite consequences. – Chuck Missler

That is a choice (much like choosing to love your spouse or to place your children’s needs before your own).  Those are  moment-by-moment, sometimes incredibly difficult, man-up because this is real life, choices.

That quote, and what I am about to share from Deuteronomy, shifted my perspective today.

Because here’s the truth, friends.  I have not been choosing to obey, or see truth, lately.  I have been acting like a big stinking baby in my head the past two weeks.  Questioning and doubting, hurting and battling.  I am tired.  To the bone, tears-at-the-back-of-my-eyes, breathing “Jesus where are You in this?” many times a day… tired.

So I read this quote today and feel a whisper in my heart – “This is for you.”

Obeying despite consequences.  What does that mean?  Aren’t I doing that already?

I’m simultaneously reading about Moses delivering the Israelites to the border of the Promised Land in Deuteronomy 32.  And I say it that way intentionally – he delivered them to the border, but he was not allowed to enter.

Moses was a faithful guy – much more so than the Israelites that he was serving, and yet his promise was never fulfilled.  And I read this today and expect to see some sign of his disappointment, his exhaustion.  I want him to be tired too.  I want someone else – maybe even a big father of the faith – to act like a baby (for no other reason than to make me feel better and to give me an ally in my own personal “God is not fair” rally going on in my head these days).

But in Deuteronomy 32, Moses delivers to the Israelites a song, his farewell address.  He says:  “I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God!  The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice.  A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He.”

He goes on to remind the Israelites of the time when they were faithless, and the Lord turned His back on them to open their eyes to their need for Him.  And then He reminds them that the Lord is always faithful, as he says “The Lord will vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone.”  He affirms the sovereignty of God and actually speaks in the voice of God as he delivers this message; “There is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.”  He reminds them to live by the Word of God, for it is life to them as they enter the land the Lord has given them.  He joyfully blesses each tribe and each leader, as he praises God for His love and faithfulness.

No whining.  No rallies (at least not the kind I was looking for).

After this speech, Moses ascends a mountain on the edge of the Promised Land, and while looking into the land he will never enter, dies.

Faith is not believing without evidence, it is obeying despite consequences. – Chuck Missler

Moses got this.  He died getting this right.  His eyes were opened to another plane and he simply obeyed, seemingly without thought of consequence (or rights, or selfish ambition).  Oh to have faith like that!

I’ll confess I don’t see like that most of the time.   I catch glimpses, but they are fleeting and the selfish mentality of my default mindset quickly takes back over.  When I see this story with human eyes – it stinks.  Righteous guy gets nothing while selfish people get it all.  Wah lah – God isn’t fair.

But when I see it with the eyes of faith I see that Moses traded the Promised Land (temporal, flawed, momentary) for the PROMISED LAND (eternal, perfect, no pain, no death, next to JESUS).  And for that moment, when I see it and get it, that tension in my head, that desire for fairness and reward here on earth and for everything to work out the way I think it should, begins to ease the slightest bit.  For a second, I can breathe more deeply and I think “Wow – He is as good as I read He is.”

Sometimes I wonder, as I write these posts, if I am the only one who struggles to trust the heart of my Creator like this?   Is it some flaw in me, some psychological remnant of mistrust from life in this broken world?  Or is it a universal human condition that many of us don’t even recognize or acknowledge because it is altogether too common?  I honestly don’t know.

But I do know that I have to make a choice, because allowing this whiny fit to go on in my head is not okay.  I don’t have backing on this one.  People have faced MUCH bigger hurts than we are facing with grace and confidence in the goodness of God.

Faith is not believing without evidence, it is obeying despite consequences. – Chuck Missler

Lord, I don’t understand some of what is happening with our family on this earth.  And I’m sorry that I define Your faithfulness, so very often, by what I see and by what I define as good, as if I were the judge of You.  I confess that as absolutely abhorrent sin against You, my Maker and the Almighty God of the universe.  Please forgive my arrogance.  I am in constant, unending need of Your mercy and grace.  Please grant me more faith and make me better at this tomorrow than I was today.   I choose to obey despite consequences and I ask You not to give up on me – to continue to be faithful when I am faithless.  I thank you for Your love for me and Your understanding of my many limitations.  I feel like the man wanting healing for his child,  “I believe, help my unbelief!”  I need You, even to believe properly or see clearly.  You are good.  Please help me obey.

3 Comments

  1. Hey jen, thanks so much for this very honest post… Definitely needed to hear it this morning. Love the quote. Lord give me the courage to obey no matter what the consequences are!

    Reply

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