1 Chronicles 4:9-10 And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.
Yesterday was an ordinary day. It was the day after the last day of Operation Shake the Hunger. I'm glad it's over.
My frat brother, Deston, left some really great and wise words of encouragement on the Day 16 blog. We also received two emails filled with encouraging words from a couple of people that participated in OStH. Bethany and Allison, thanks again for your contributions and for your words of encouragement. God bless.
I realized what I learned during the week we stepped out in faith for the Operation Shake the Hunger project.
1) Obedience is not easy
2) Obedience does not always feel good.
3) Obedience does not always look like a blessing
4) Sometimes our interpretation of God's message gets lost in translation
1) Obedience is not easy. Genesis 12:1-3 "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
When God told Abraham to leave his home and go to an unknown land, this could not have been easy for Abraham. Imagine if you will someone tells you to leave everything you know, everything that is comfortable to you, your home and your family so that you can be a blessing to others. Abraham had no idea where he was going, he only knew that God told him to go. He told him to go and He would bless him. I'm pretty sure Abraham didn't even understand the promise that God told him. However, Abraham went obediently.
The first time I ever told Marcus I wanted to move to LA, he said something like, "LA is a nice place to visit, but I don't want to live in LA." That pretty much ended that conversation. Over the course of a three year period, I'd causally mention to Marcus the idea of moving to LA only to be hit with that first response. Sometimes he would add to his response, "I had to travel all the time when I was a kid because my Dad was in the military. I finally found my place in Austin. I'm comfortable here. I don't ever see myself leaving."
After many years of causually mentioning the idea of moving to LA to Marcus and getting the same response, I finally said to him one day, "I'm moving to LA. I want you to come with me. But if you choose to stay here, I will understand." After this conversation, I didn't ask Marcus to move to LA with me again. My mind was made up, and I was moving. Marcus' decision to leave the comfort of Austin came about through much prayer.
2) Obedience does not always feel good. Genesis 22:1-3 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, [here] I [am]. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
When Marcus brought up the idea of Operation Shake the Hunger, I didn't want to do it. I used every single excuse I could to talk myself and him out of it. I spent a lot of time wrestling with myself, and wrestling with God in prayer. Finally, I realized it was something we needed to do. I have never been the kind of person to ask friends or family or strangers for help in anything because of my fear of rejection. Rejection for me, is one of the ugliest feelings in the world. Even the thought of rejection makes me a little queasy.
Looking at Abraham's example, it could not have been easy for him to take his only son to a place where he knew he'd be sacrificed before God. Abraham finally had his promised son of God after all this time, and now God was telling him to offer him up to Him as a sacrifice....wow. I can't even imagine how Abraham must have felt in that moment. Abraham's heart must have ached more and more with every step he took toward Moriah. Yet, he trusted God and obediently continued on the journey.
3) Obedience does not always look like a blessing. Matthew 27:41-43 Likewise also the chief priests mocking [him], with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
4) Sometimes our interpretation of God's message gets lost in translation. Genesis 17:15-21 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah [shall] her name [be]. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be [a mother] of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall [a child] be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, [and] with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.