Have you ever said “Yes!” to God only to have it morph into, “Seriously?!” Has your hunger to follow God’s will been eclipsed by doubt, confusion, and fear?
I feel you.
So often, we boldly step into a new “yes” only to find ourselves in the middle of unmet expectations rather than the Promised Land. Why is it that the cost of obedience, the cost of our “yes”, is often so much more than we bargain for? Why is it that life doesn’t always shake out like we think it will?
One year ago, I said the most terrifying “yes” of my life. This “yes” took me away from my home, away from the life I had built. I said “yes,” gave away most of my possessions, and bought a one-way ticket for South Florida. Listen, I’m the first to tell you that South Florida is far from a death sentence. It totally rocks down here. But that step, that move, was excruciating. The only thing that got me on the plane was the unshakable certainty that God was calling me to a new place. And surely, if I was to make such a sacrifice, the Lord would immediately reward me by fulfilling my every wish and expectation. Not the case. Instead, I arrived in Florida and was greeted by #thestruggle. And believe me, it was very real.
Please don’t misunderstand. God was bringing beautiful things to my life. Restoration, new community, new growth, new momentum. But it felt like my dreams were in a free-fall. I felt like a ghost of who I once was. I had agreed to boldly chase the will of God, but I had no clue it would cost so much. I knew that God hadn’t forsaken me. I knew He was working in deeper ways than I could perceive, but why did it have to hurt so badly?
Can you relate? Has your obedience ever left you feeling shell-shocked and let down?
Thankfully, like He always does, the Lord displayed his love and provision for me in an unexpected way.
One day while driving home from work, I saw a homeless man standing on the corner. I’m used to seeing homeless people at that same corner every day, but something was different. In the moment I saw him, I knew that the Lord had brought this man into my path. I was living on a tight budget but knew that the Lord was asking me to give him one of the larger bills in my wallet. So without missing a beat, I pulled out my wallet, grabbed the bill, handed it to the man and spoke a blessing. The light turned green and I drove forward, ecstatic that I had just been an instrument in the hand of God. I smiled and thought about how good it felt to be obedient, even if it slightly compromised my budget. But as I opened my wallet later that day, I made a shocking discovery. I had not given the man the amount I thought I had. To my horror, I realized I handed him the wrong bill. My insides groaned. I was obedient and had inadvertently given twice the amount I meant to give.
And isn’t that the way that life goes? We obey God and end up giving more than we intend to…
I was frustrated. And then Proverbs 19:17 echoed in my heart: "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done." So I sighed and offered up this simple prayer: “Lord, I need you to make up the deficit of what I’ve lost.”
And boy, did He. I don’t know if you’ve been fortunate enough to have random people start handing you money, but that’s what happened to me over the next few weeks. Out of nowhere, the Lord repaid me in ways beyond what I could imagine.
I am confident that the Lord sought to teach me a valuable lesson through this experience. In the midst of my season of uncertainty, the Lord was reminding me that I was not forgotten. That my obedience would be rewarded in incredible, surprising ways.
Our obedience often requires us to give much more than we bargain for... but we get so much more than we could ever hope for.
Exceedingly and abundantly beyond what we could ask, hope, or think to be exact. When we say 'yes' to God, we say 'yes' to something better. We say 'yes' to things that go far beyond what we can comprehend.
Listen, the cost is more than we bargain for. We make sacrifices, we let things die that were once precious. We lose relationships, we lay aside our will. The cost is great. But the reward is so much greater.
Your Father in heaven loves you. He has a divine plan for you. He knows what He’s asking you to give up. Obedience will always be justified, even if it isn’t fully understood.
Say 'yes'. And then fight for the 'yes'. Then keep fighting for that 'yes'. Then pick up your bruised self off the ground and keep fighting for 'yes'.
This is not an excuse for poor stewardship. This isn’t license to go outside of the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. This is empowerment for you to boldly follow God into the unknown. This is encouragement to keep walking through seasons of doubt and uncertainty that so often come in the wake of our obedience. I’ll say it again: obedience often comes at great cost, but the reward is so much greater than our loss.
Be brave, sister. Keep moving forward. Keep saying yes. God is with you. He loves you. He loves you so much. He has plans that so far exceed the dreams you have for yourself.
I’ll leave you with the simple lyrics to a song I’ve sung often. I never dreamed how precious and profound these words would become to me. Let this be our prayer:
Jesus use me, oh Lord, don’t refuse me,
Surely there’s a work that I can do.
Even though it’s humble, Lord, help my will to crumble.
Though the cost be great, I’ll work for you.
Allison Yandell is a ‘Backwoods Barbie’ turned ‘Beach Babe’ based out of West Palm Beach, Florida. The fourth generation in her family to serve in ministry, she is passionate about the work of the Church in both the local and global arena. In addition to ministerial program design, Allison teaches life-giving truths with authenticity, relate-ability, and candor to women from all walks of life. Want to connect? Shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.