God Wouldn’t Ask Me for EVERYTHING Would He?

leap 2I remember as a teenager being afraid of the idea of following Jesus because I was worried that He would ask me for my most precious and important things. I didn’t want to move across the world into a shack and I sure didn’t want to give my car away to someone. In later year I wondered if He would ask me to sell my house and give all the money away?! That fear still haunts me once in a while. We often preach, or hear preached, that God wants EVERYTHING, our entire lives with nothing held back from Him. After all, Jesus did say “You cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.” (Luke 14:33) In this case, Jesus was challenging nominal believers who wanted Him for popularity reasons. They thought that they could maintain their current lifestyle and have Jesus too; He needed to make clear the degree of the commitment that was required. Most commentators say that this forsaking of possessions means simply giving up our personal control over them. Either way it’s a scary concept, particularly if we find our security in our possessions like our homes or retirement funds. I wonder if we are missing something in how we communicate and understand this concept. My children love me, and they trust me to take care of them. When they were very young they trusted without hesitation. They followed when I said follow and clung tightly to me when they were afraid. Their “childlike faith” was amazing and pure because fear meant nothing if Daddy said it was okay. Leigha would let me throw her in the air and loved the freedom of feeling like she was flying. She knew there was no danger and the freedom to enjoy the experience came from the exhilaration that was found in feeling something with no fear or risk. But then something happened, as she grew older she began to understand fear. Heights equated to potential danger and pain. Leigha began to walk on her own, and fall on her own. Climbing meant falling; skinned knees and bruised elbows were part of the experience. Dad throwing her in the air suddenly had a new dimension of awareness and fear pharmaciepourhomme.fr. With her awareness of the risk came hesitation to trust. We are the same with God. Depending on when we came to faith in Jesus, our level of trust in the beginning may have been just as pure as my daughter’s. But then we began to venture out on our own. We experience pain and loss, deep emotional hurt and experiences that cause us to realize just how dangerous the world is. Where there is fear, trust becomes more difficult. I believe that God’s response to this awareness of danger is similar to my response to my daughter’s newfound fear of the world. I stopped throwing her in the air because I saw that it caused her fear. She wasn’t able to enjoy the experience anymore and my doing so caused her to trust me less because I wasn’t listening to her concerns and needs. So I took a step back and taught her the joy of trusting me in smaller ways. I spent time playing with her and doing adventurous things that were considered less dangerous to her, like jumping to me in a pool. She progressively moved from the edge of the pool to the diving board. She knew I would catch her and she knew I would help her swim if she had trouble. She built trust up for me again because I was listening and teaching her to trust me in the midst of her fears and the reality of the dangers of the world. She trusts me enough now that if I asked her to jump to me from the roof of our house, she would likely listen – and hopefully even enjoy it. So what I am trying to say is this. God does ask us to do things that are uncomfortable and require trust and faith, but in my experience they are progressive to our experience in trusting Him. He doesn’t usually ask us to do things that requires a heart crippling amount of fear without teaching us what it means to trust Him first. In fact, if it ever came to a step of faith like that we would be so familiar with His voice and the experience of trusting Him that we are ready and want to trust Him in a new way. Something like my daughter jumping from the roof of our house, we may hesitate, and then look into the eyes of Jesus and jump, because we know the results are indescribable, the joy immense and the experience freeing and life-giving. Every time God calls us to listen, there is a risk, but the benefits are ALWAYS worth it, no matter the outcome. Fortunately He knows our fears and starts small, teaching us what it means to experience the safety of His arms and provides for us a history of good experiences so that trust becomes almost second nature. Consider Peter in Matthew 14:22ff, he stepped out of the boat to meet Jesus on the water. Yes he started to sink and needed Jesus’ help, but no one else in history can say they walked on water with Jesus! God will stretch us and grow us, enough so that every new opportunity to listen requires faith and risk. But don’t worry, moving to a remote jungle in Africa isn’t on the docket, at least not until you are ready and know what it means to be secure in His love and know His voice. (John 10:27).