Just this past week, my ladies’ Bible study completed our journey through Lysa Terkeurst’s book What Happens when Women Say Yes to God. The book explores what it means to be obedient to God’s call on one’s life even through trials and facing unexpected challenges. In the very first chapter of her book, Terkeurst recounts her experience in being obedient to God’s call.
She was seated next to a businessman on an airplane, and the two got to talking. Soon, Lysa was sharing her faith in Christ with the man, and she pulled out her Bible to share some verses with him. It wasn’t long before she felt the Holy Spirit convicting her to give the gentleman her Bible. At first, Lysa resisted the Spirit’s call; this Bible was well-worn, tear-stained, and had gone with her through most of her life. She couldn’t bring herself to part from the precious book.
But finally, she reached over and placed the Bible in his hands. The man thanked her, and the two went their separate ways after the plane landed. Lysa wondered if she had made the right decision; there was no telling if her Bible would be treasured and valued as it had been or if it was in a trash can somewhere around the corner. She had risked giving something so valuable away without knowing if her sacrifice would be worth it in the end.
For the past six months, the ladies and I have been discussing what it means to say “yes” to God no matter what the cost. It seemed fitting that we would study this book on the heels of my 2011 commitment to serve. In many ways, it mirrored my reading of Frances Chan’s book Crazy Love. When faced with Christ’s incredible sacrifice, how can we not give His love away? We should be jumping at the chance to reach out to others and bring His message to the world.
So what holds us back? I can tell you right now, it stems from fear. I long to serve Him through reaching out to others, but I find I’m worried about what will come of such opportunities. It’s more than going outside of my comfort zone; it’s about safety. Something my father said to me shortly after I started working toward my Masters degree will stick with me forever; he said that with ministry comes a great deal of risk. Your deed or act of service will not always guarantee a return on your investment.
I long to display His love to others and to lend a helping hand, but sometimes, I struggle to find the balance between being available to someone and then being too available. A person has to look out for their own safety and well-being, and sometimes, the risk seems far too great. This is when fear steps in, and I can’t bring myself to open myself up to the people who truly need me. I feel inadequate, and sometimes I wonder what God must think of me. At times when I walk away from an opportunity, I think about my lack of obedience to His call, and I realize that I’ve let Him down again.
Risk and obedience do not come with a how-to manual. Both are messy and carry great uncertainty. As I write this morning, I’m willing to admit that I am far from figuring it all out. But it is my intent to seek out those opportunities where He has called me to serve and do my best to reach out to those in need to the best of my ability. When the fear becomes too great, I will pray for His protection and a clear sense of His leading. Obedience comes with risk, and I must be ready to step out in faith when He calls me out in service.