Randy and I grew up in Midwest City, Oklahoma. We worked as school teachers then we were called by God to leave what we had worked so hard to accomplish to go into full time ministry. Randy first, then me. This eventually took us to Ohio for seminary education and working for our denomination while taking on a small, rural church. My parents were not happy with this decision and made our move from Oklahoma to Ohio especially difficult.
My parents laid the guilt of leaving them as thick as jelly on a peanut butter sandwich though not as sweet. (Oklahoma roots just popped out in that last statement.) I knew they loved us dearly which was the reason for all the emotional angry words. But it was very hard on us to follow God’s will in His time for His purposes. I even heard my mom say, which she regretted later, “God may have called you but he didn’t tell me so therefore it’s not right”. Yes, those words still linger deep in the files of my mind. Family, who loved and raised you in believing Jesus can be the very ones who try to hold you back most when you give your all to Jesus. Just ask Jesus!
Jesus’ brothers tried very hard to get Jesus to merely perform for the people. They didn’t believe in their brother as Son of God. They didn’t believe why He was sent to earth as a baby to a virgin, their mother. They didn’t believe in what He said—yet. How did Jesus feel when His own family of brothers were not with Him? Jesus must have felt the pressure and guilt heaped upon Him to do what they did and be more like them. It shows in His response. Jesus loved His family but was not deterred from God’s will and timing. Jesus is our perfect example of following God’s will, even when it hurts.
Jesus knew what He was doing—The will of His Father, God. John’s gospel writings relate the many times Jesus reminds his followers and those who do not yet believe, by saying in different ways, I only say and do what the Father tells me. Jesus is Messiah, Son of God, who has come to lay down his life for all, that includes his earthly brothers, mom and sisters in his family as well as his followers and the rest of the world…if they believe.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16, NIV
“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.” John 5 19-20, NIV
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live”. John 5:24-25, NIV
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” John 5:28-30, NIV
Even when it hurts…trust God’s will, His timing, His ways and believe in Jesus, His Son who died to save us and lives to abide in us. This is the mystery made known to living abundant and free from sin’s hold on us! Paul, full of passion, tells the church, “And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.” Colossians 1:27, NLT
There will be times when we have to make the hard decision to follow God or the world. Choose wisely. It’s a matter of life or death for not only us but for those we are called to help to find and follow Jesus, too.
John 7:1-13, The Message
1-2 Later Jesus was going about his business in Galilee. He didn’t want to travel in Judea because the Jews there were looking for a chance to kill him. It was near the time of Tabernacles, a feast observed annually by the Jews.
3-5 His brothers said, “Why don’t you leave here and go up to the Feast so your disciples can get a good look at the works you do? No one who intends to be publicly known does everything behind the scenes. If you’re serious about what you are doing, come out in the open and show the world.” His brothers were pushing him like this because they didn’t believe in him either.
6-8 Jesus came back at them, “Don’t pressure me. This isn’t my time. It’s your time—it’s always your time; you have nothing to lose. The world has nothing against you, but it’s up in arms against me. It’s against me because I expose the evil behind its pretensions. You go ahead, go up to the Feast. Don’t wait for me. I’m not ready. It’s not the right time for me.”
9-11 He said this and stayed on in Galilee. But later, after his family had gone up to the Feast, he also went. But he kept out of the way, careful not to draw attention to himself. The Jews were already out looking for him, asking around, “Where is that man?”
12-13 There was a lot of contentious talk about him circulating through the crowds. Some were saying, “He’s a good man.” But others said, “Not so. He’s selling snake oil.” This kind of talk went on in guarded whispers because of the intimidating Jewish leaders.
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
Gossip hinders God’s work in us and through us—if we allow it.
Even when it hurts…trust God’s will, His timing, His ways and believe in Jesus, His Son who died to save us and lives to abide in us.
When we have made decisions to follow you, even when it hurt at the time, you provided for us, protected us and encouraged our walk even more. Yes, you are always there with us, we can do nothing without you. Thank you for inviting us to join you in your work. You are God. We are not. I love you, Lord with all my heart, mind and soul. I have no regrets in choosing You because I know you chose me as you have chosen all of us to help others know you. Thank you for being with us, telling us what to say and do in your time, in your Spirit, for all the right reasons…that they may know and believe in You. Continue your work of salvation in me.
In Jesus Name, Amen