Lora

Photo of Lora Charles, taken by Joanne Screen.

The last two posts considered hurdles that keep us from trusting Jesus—our desire to be in control and our gravitation toward comfortable untruths. We lose focus on the source of all truth and get carried away by tidal waves of worry and distraction—Satan’s ploys to keep us off track. We don’t embrace the freedom that’s offered in Christ.[1] Sometimes, though, God rescues us from confusion and helps us to choose his way.

A decade after my divorce, God turned my world upside down, giving me another chance to trust him with my life. In my second (much better but still imperfect) marriage and following the birth of our second son, God asked me to put aside my career to be a stay-home mom. While God does not call every mother to give up her job, this is what he wanted me to do. I didn’t know at the time, but he had been working on me for years to bring me into obedience.

Recurring mismatches between my positions and my professional goals shrouded my achievements with disappointment. Failed attempts to resolve and justify child care concerns pressed down on me. When our second son came, I wondered whether I could bear the separation sadness that now would be doubled.

During my maternity leave, the ordinary joys of being with our boys exceeded any I’d known. Of course, feeling tethered either to the nursing chair or the changing table took its toll. But the joys far outweighed the difficulties. In his next gift of grace, God gave me the courage to consider being a stay-home mom.

One spring afternoon, I felt a persistent nudge to trim the shrubbery and became unable to concentrate on anything else. Once outside, I noticed my neighbor cutting her lawn. I went over to say hi and to tease her about how hot she must be in her sweat suit. Janet explained that she acted on an irresistible desire to cut the grass, not realizing that the day had become so warm.

I believe God brought us together in that moment to talk about the dilemma Paul and I faced. I’ll always remember one thing she said, “No one will ever love your children the way you will.” Her words hung over me like a rainbow, not the curse I might have perceived them to be in years past. I knew we had to consider my staying home.

Terrified at the prospect of reducing our income by almost half, we began to pray for God’s guidance. Paul, because of his mother’s experience, expressed concerns about my sense of self-worth being diminished. In God’s great faithfulness, though, he gave us the strength to obey him. In so doing, he also freed me from the heartbreak that comes from a life spent pursuing goals that are out of sync with his.

We must remember that God’s plans are best. We must be willing to trust him with the risks of obedience. When we don’t, we find that the things we think will free us rather enslave us, causing us to blindly pursue self-defeat. But the joys that result from our trust in and obedience to the one true God, those joys are supreme in every way.

If we want to experience the blessings that come from trusting Jesus, we must seek him,[2] commit to following him,[3] and ask him to help us with areas where we struggle with inadequate faith. Just like the father in Mark 9:17-27 who asked Jesus to heal his son but then questioned the Lord’s ability, we must depend upon God to increase our trust in him.[4] In response our earnest requests, he replaces our doubts with confidence in his sufficiency.

I challenge you to let go of self-determination and fear.[5]  Instead, jump into the trustworthy arms of the almighty King.

John 8:31-36

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

 REFLECTION

  • What are you doing right now that requires trust in Jesus?[6]
  • What do you think God is asking you to trust him with now?
  • What are you struggling with that you need to release to God?

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, please help me to realize the freedom I can experience only in you and to stand firm in your truth.[7]

EXCERPTS READY TO SHARE (copy and paste)

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Obedience to God frees us from the heartbreak that comes from a life spent pursuing goals that are out of sync with his. https://karenlindia.com/2016/11/23/what-does-it-mean-to-trust-in-jesus-part-3-of-3-embracing-freedom/

The joys that result from our trust in and obedience to the one true God are supreme in every way. https://karenlindia.com/2016/11/23/what-does-it-mean-to-trust-in-jesus-part-3-of-3-embracing-freedom/

Let go of self-determination and fear. Instead, jump into the trustworthy arms of the almighty King. https://karenlindia.com/2016/11/23/what-does-it-mean-to-trust-in-jesus-part-3-of-3-embracing-freedom/

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE

Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer. Recovering Redemption: A Gospel-Saturated Perspective on How to Change. By Matt Chandler. Nashville: B & H Group, 2014.

FOOTNOTES

[1] In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus says that those who will choose to follow him are few. There is a gap in our human knowledge about the relationship between God’s selection (predestination) of those who will follow him and his clear call for us to choose him. Many brilliant theologians have been unable to reconcile these Scriptural truths. These are heaven questions. Scripture teaches us, though, that when we earnestly seek God we will find him (Jeremiah 29:13).

[2] Psalm 119:45

[3] Colossians 1:21-23

[4] In How Jesus Helped His Disciples Increase Their Faith, August 21, 2001, John Piper offers insight into how God increases our faith.

[5] Isaiah 41:13

[6] Francis Chan and Danae Yankoski, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2013), 122.

[7] Galatians 5:1

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