The Blessings of the Hard Yes
“At the LORD’s command they encamped, and at the LORD’s command they set out. They obeyed the LORD’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.” Numbers 9:23 (NIV)
When my husband traveled cross-county to interview for a job, we had no plans to move. We didn’t think he’d get an offer, and honestly, I hoped he wouldn’t. I had no intention of moving 2000 miles from home. So when the offer came through and my husband was interested, I said no.
With three little boys under age 7, I couldn’t even go to the store by myself. How could I move away from my parents, sisters, friends and church? How could I give up my part-time job that allowed one day a week with a lunch break? Convinced I’d be miserable, I put my foot down.
I even said, “Just because your name rhymes with God …” (his name is Tod) “doesn’t mean you know God’s will for me!” (Ahem. Not my finest moment as a wife.)
Then for the first time in my Christian life, I heard God speak. How do I know it was God? It was something I would never have told myself. God told me to tell my husband yes.
In fact, God was very clear. He said, “Your husband has never demanded his way; it’s his time. Tell him yes.”
You’d think I’d be overjoyed to hear God so clearly. I’d longed for Him to speak to me for years. But why did it have to be about this? Why didn’t God tell me to treat myself to a new outfit or pedicure? Not move across country! But that was God’s command and with a fearful heart, I said yes.
I think of that time whenever I read the account of the Israelites in the Old Testament book of Numbers. They left slavery in Egypt and were traveling to the Promised Land. Only the journey wasn’t clearly laid out before them. They didn’t know the exact destination, and they didn’t know the path God would lead them on.
God gave them direction through a cloud over the tabernacle. When the cloud lifted, the Israelites packed up and followed the cloud, no matter whether it was day or night. During the night, the Lord even provided a fire in the cloud. When it stopped, they stopped.
It was a life of faith as our key verse explains, “At the LORD's command they encamped, and at the LORD's command they set out. They obeyed the LORD's order, in accordance with his command through Moses” (Numbers 9:23).
God knew what He had waiting for His chosen people, and it was GOOD. And that’s what the Lord did for me.
What we thought was a career move for my husband, turned out to be a priority-flipping, life-changing move for me. God pried my tight grip from a life lead by me, and showed the beauty of a life lead by Him.
Within weeks of moving to our new city, God led us to a church where Proverbs 31 Ministries’ President Lysa TerKeurst “just happened” to be giving her testimony that Sunday. Later that week I heard her on the radio, and God spoke to me a second time and told me, “Call her and volunteer.”
That yes was almost as hard as the first, because I don’t just call people I don’t know. But again, because I knew it wasn’t my own thought, I obeyed. When I reached Lysa and told her I had just moved and had a degree in journalism and I was wondering if Proverbs 31 needed any volunteers, she said, “We’ve been praying for someone with a degree in journalism.”
Eighteen years later, God has transformed my heart, my faith and my family through that first hard yes. In that time, I’ve learned that God seldom gives me a road map for my next assignment. He simply tells me to move and waits for my yes.
As scary as it is to obey, God has proven His faithfulness. Even when it looks like I’m headed into the unknown, it’s only because my sight is limited. God knows His good plans for me, He just wants me to trust Him. And each time I do, the result is better than I could ever imagine.
God has given me joy and peace, He’s removed the fear that kept me bound for years, and my faith has grown. Although it’s a paradox, I’ve learned this truth: The harder the yes, the greater I’m blessed.
Dear Lord, thank You for having good plans for me. Help me learn to listen intently for Your next assignment and obey with a joyful heart even when I don’t know where You’re leading me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Samuel 15:22, “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.’” (NASB)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Why would God withhold a road map for our assignments and callings?
Is God asking you to do something hard today? What should your answer be?