Years ago our oldest daughter went through a hard situation. It was a difficult moment at the time but with the clarity of hindsight it has taken on it’s proper size. This quote from Elizabeth Elliot perfectly suits that period in her life,“God never withholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful — “severe mercies” at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our hearts desire except to give us something better.”
That deviation from the expected was the ground that God used to grow her into the woman she is now. In a world (she’s an emergency room nurse) where it can be an every man for himself kind of place she is earning a reputation as a hard worker, willing to help and pitch in, with a pleasant attitude. She is faithful to the life God has given her and she lives it with joy and contentment.
Sometime last year, before her graduation and having her own place and all the adulting she is now doing, Rob and I ran into some people we hadn’t seen in a while and as is often the case we were catching up on children and life stuff. I remarked that I hoped Sarah would take a job locally and stay close. I was actually smacked on the arm and chastised for such a thing. Didn’t I know that God hadn’t given her to us to stay put? She needed to “go and make disciples”.
Rob, sensing my discomfort I think, chimed in that our prayer was that she would be faithful to make disciples and be a faithful servant right here. Without missing a beat we were told that our prayer was too small.
As if that kind of faithfulness and obedience is only good enough until the real opportunity to be faithful shows up and involves packing a suitcase.
As if what we’re really made for and made to do are out there in the future somewhere and is the only thing that counts and we are just tinkering around with these smaller lesser things until God finally gives us the BIG stuff, the stuff that really counts and makes us something more than than just the ordinary person in the church pew beside us.
I loved this paragraph from Rachel Jankovic’s book You Who,
“But contentment and gratitude, some of the very smallest seeds, grow some of the biggest trees. These are some of the wildest forces for change in this world. Contentment says to God, “Where You put me, I will honor You. Where You send me, I will go. Where You are, I will be glad.” Gratitude says to God that you accept what He has given you to do, and you will do it, not grudgingly, but with joy.”
Oh my goodness, I love that! Be content wherever you are. If He chooses to send you somewhere then with great joy pack your bags and go. But do not serve Him with any less joy if he keeps you right where you are.
It is no small thing to glorify God in the ordinary everyday. God can, and does, do marvelous things with the simple common things of our life.
Little things offered to God are used to do big things. Five loaves of bread and two little fish were transformed into a feast that literally feed thousands. What do you think God will do with your obedience in joyfully doing what He has given you to do right now, right where you are, no matter how ordinary it may seem?
That kind joyful obedience will literally change the world whether you are in the same town you have always been in or your feet are covered with the dust of some far away land.
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