Steve and I spend a lot of time in airports. Sometimes, that goes well, but then there are those times when it all goes very wrong. Flight delays, lost suitcases, and moments of absolute inconvenience.
Just this past week, we were flying; Boston, then Brazil, back to Boston, and over to Rochester, NY. The flight into Boston was delayed and we missed the first shuttle to the rental car center. When we finally arrived, there was a very long line. We groaned because Steve had an important zoom call meeting in just a few minutes. End of story… Steve had to do his zoom call at the rental car center, we went without lunch and, more important to me, without the Starbucks I was longing for. I wasn’t a huge fan of staying in the rental car lounge while Steve did his phone call, and my attitude began to sink. Then I felt the Spirit of God hovering close and I felt convicted. As I sat there, I held a self-management meeting and reminded myself it’s a privilege to serve the Lord.
Jesus never promised that following Him was going to be easy. He said to His disciples, “Now off you go! I’m sending you out even though you feel vulnerable…you won’t need to take anything with you – trust God alone” (Luke10:3-4 The Passion Translation). I’m pretty sure the disciples didn’t have to worry about shoe options, hairdryers, make-up, and changes of clothes. On the other hand, they never had lost luggage. Sigh. Jesus’ advice would make airport security much easier! 🙂 Seriously though, Jesus did say, “If you truly want to follow me, you should at once completely disown your life” (Mark 8:34). And, He went on to say, “For if you let go of your life for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, you will continually experience true life.” (Mark 8:35). Oh Friend, I need those reminders – how about you?
Jesus didn’t call us to play it safe and to be comfortable, did He? Yet, I find often I want my comfort, my security, my will and my way. Can you resonate? I need the daily reminder that to follow Jesus is to let go of my life. What does that mean exactly?
It means to let go of my need for control. Once we follow Jesus, we are no longer in control. We die to every desire not in sync with His. The Apostle Paul reminded us that we have been crucified with Christ and our life is now wrapped up in Christ. (Galatians 2:20). I need this reminder every day in the big things and the small things – I am not my own. I have been bought with a price. I can no longer be in a tug of war with God over who’s in charge. He is. End of story. When His will collides with mine, I have to bow and ask the Spirit of God to bring my will into perfect union with His.
It means life is no longer about my happiness. Here in the West, I think we struggle with this more than those in other cultures. In many places where people are suffering or starving, it’s a foreign idea that life is about their happiness. But when convenience surrounds us – drive-throughs, smart phones and fast food deliveries – we forget. When we’re bombarded every day with messages that encourage us to pursue our dreams and achieve our financial goals, we forget. Friend, I think you need this reminder. That’s why I’m writing this. Suffering for Jesus is not missed flights or going without Starbucks; it’s a bit bigger than that. Our life needs to be centered on Him rather than our personal happiness.
It means I will have to take risks and trust God. Again, Jesus never called us to safety. He invites us on the grand adventure of following His will. To follow His will means you will have to take risks – it won’t always make sense and it won’t always be safe. But the pay-off is, when you choose to really follow Him, you discover true life is only found as you trust Him moment by moment.
Take a few moments and whisper a prayer, asking that God would remind you that to follow Jesus means laying down your life in favor of His. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring your will into complete union with His.
This week we are at a mission’s conference in Upstate New York – then I will leave Steve and head to San Diego where I will meet our newest granddaughter.
How you can pray:
Please pray for our meetings in Upstate New York.
Please pray for a safe delivery for our new granddaughter.
Please pray for creativity as I finish up one of the books I’m under contract to write.