“God, please don’t send me to Africa…”
It was my greatest fear as a young teenager – that God would ship me off to some third-world country where I’d have to live in a mud hut, eat sticks and bugs, and die of malnutrition. It probably wasn’t a valid fear, but as far as I was concerned, every good Christian was sent to die in a jungle somewhere. Anyone who got left in the United States was mediocre – someone God couldn’t use. But it wasn’t just a fear of being sent to Africa that dominated me. No – the real fear was a fear of my future – and what God would do with it.
I could not trust Jesus Christ not to harm me.
My plea turned to a quiet inner vow: “I will never go…” there were more places than one that made it onto that list. “I will never be…”, “I will never hold the conviction of…” The list got longer and longer until one day, there was nothing left to add…except for things God didn’t want anyways – things His Word said to “flee” from!
We’ve talked about Lordship a little bit throughout this month – how it is choosing to lay down my own will because I love the will of the Father. In our culture, any kind of sacrifice that doesn’t fall under the label of “heroic” is a sign of weakness. But is it really weakness to put yourself under the Lordship of Christ? In John 10:18, Jesus paints a different word picture for Lordship:
“…no man taketh [life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have the power to lay it down…”
What if dying to self was a demonstration of power? Jesus understood something very important: living for myself is easy, but dying to myself…that is a whole different story. What do we feel when we strip ourselves of everything and throw ourselves at the mercy of God? Weakness…? But what does the world see? Power. We may be ridiculed or slighted for the sacrificial choices we make, but our chosen weakness is a demonstration of the power within us.
The world knows it doesn’t have this power, but the world wants this power!
Power – it gives us the strength to have faith in the fundamental foundation that allows us to surrender our lives to Christ: Jesus Christ will never harm me. He will only give me His very best.
We forget that we are the sheep: blind, deaf, clumsy – and we mistake ourselves for the shepherd himself.
We need the Shepherd. Without Him, we are at the mercy of the wolves. Yet despite His all-sufficiency, Jesus realized our need for an example, and He gave it through the Shepherd: The Shepherd laid down His life of His own accord, that the sheep might know what it means to follow.
Africa was erased from my list long ago. Many, many things were. I will be learning to fully trust and fully abide under the Lordship of Christ for the rest of my life. But if I am willing to be still for a moment each day, and carefully consider the world around me, I can believe with all my heart that Jesus Christ will never harm me, He will never harm my future…actually, wonderfully, amazingly, He is worthy of my complete trust – and no one else can boast of this!
Put yourself under His Lordship. Discover that when nothing is held back from Him, He will hold nothing back from you. His way is through green pastures and by still waters, and when the valleys come, His way promises companionship, comfort, and protection. There is no other place or person on earth in which you will find these.