“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Phil 3:8
This may surprise some. But I never wanted to return to Virginia. I grew up in Virginia. I lived in Virginia in recent years for a few years. But I never planned to return. Not that it’s not beautiful. Not that I don’t love being near some special loved ones. Not that the Lord hasn’t blessed me immeasurably since He made this my first stop in going out on the road full time for Him and my ministry work. Not that He hasn’t provided for me bountifully since my arrival. But in reality, it’s the last place I would have chosen to go. Nor desire to remain. So why am I here? Why do I stay until He leads me to the next stop for ministry? Why don’t I pick somewhere I want to go and leave before He speaks to my heart about His plan for me and timing for it? The answer is simple.
My life is not mine. My life is the Lord Jesus Christ’s. He bought me with the price of the blood He shed on the cross for me when He died for my sins so I could give my life to Him, receive God’s forgiveness, and be given an everlasting relationship with the Lord. I was adopted into God’s forever family, became His very own daughter, and became Christ’s blessed and beloved servant. The same is true for all who give their lives to Christ for the promise of eternal life. We become God’s forever family, His kids, and Christ’s servants.
But who would be so crazy, so foolish, to give up what they want and instead to take on God’s will for their lives, especially when it means living where we don’t want to live, doing what we don’t want to do, saying what we don’t want to say, behaving like we don’t want to behave, changing like we don’t want to change, letting go of what we don’t want to let go, growing up when we don’t want to grow up, saying no to what we want, and saying yes to Christ, maybe not all the time, but enough of the time that we realize there’s a lot we have to give up, to sacrifice, to leave behind, to genuinely follow Christ and be in His forever fellowship? It does seem crazy, doesn’t it? Who would willingly “suffer” in this way?
Those, like myself, who realize that the suffering we endure on this earth is NOTHING compared with looking forward to forever with God. And those who realize that what we have to let go, to sacrifice, on this earth, is NOTHING compared with being in Christ’s intimate and ever growing fellowship NOW – and for eternity.
There is simply NO comparison. Sometimes people criticize me, and judge me, and look at me askance, strangely, and curiously, sometimes intrigued, sometimes disgusted, because I so incredibly indescribably desperately want to please my precious beloved Father in heaven. Perhaps they don’t understand, and I hope one day they will when they consider their own lives.
For the more I follow the Lord, the more I know the Lord, the closer I grow to the Lord, the more I experience the Lord’s love, the more I love the Lord, the closer we become to one another, the more I submit to His lordship, the more I enjoy the greatest blessing of all, intimacy with Him who is Lord, King, Savior, and redeemer of all, the more I desire not out of obligation, but out of love and reverence, out of passion and adoration, out of yearning and longing, to please the One I love and want to honor more than anything or anyone else in the universe.
I have learned that when I choose to obey the Lord, when I submit to His will and His ways, to His plan and purpose, to His lordship and reign in my heart and life, despite what my flesh may not want, or desire, I come to be thankful for the way the Lord draws me closer to Himself through my obedience and how even in places my flesh may not want to be, and/or doing things my flesh may not want to do, He blesses me beyond measure and teaches me to be thankful in the midst of it all. The greatest blessing of all? More and more of His presence.
Choose love and obedience. Live to love and please the Lord. Honor Him. Revere Him. Live for Him. You will be blessed beyond measure in so doing. Most of all, by the relationship you will come to have with Him who is Lord!