Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Cost of Obedience

Today's entry in Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest has an interesting twist. Usually, when we think of obeying God, we imagine the results will all be positive. But OC quotes the scripture from Luke 23:26 - "They lay hold upon Simon ... and on him they laid the cross." OC's point is that sometimes our obedience will cause others pain.
I saw an example of this in our church not long ago. My husband was led to do a healing service, asking those who wanted healing to come the front and be anointed with oil. This is quite unusual in our church and my husband did not do it lightly, believe me. He knew it would cause some uncomfortable repercussions. He thought all of them would fall on him, but not so.

When he called the elders to come to the front to assist him and pray with him, one of them said no. His justification was that he did not believe this was "proper." He believes that it should be done, if at all, in a person's home, in private. (He didn't know that two people had come to Spence and asked him to do what he was doing. I doubt that that would have changed anything). It was a very awkward moment for everyone. It was hard for Spence to then focus on praying for those who came forward, but he managed.

The whole thing was an act of obedience on Spence's part but it did cost that elder - he said it was a very bad day for him - he felt humiliated and no doubt very angry. He and my husband have talked through it and it's fine now, but at the time it was hard.
I have a lot of respect for both men - my husband for doing what God told him to do, and that elder, for standing by his convictions. (I don't agree with him, but that's beside the point)

The week following that Sunday was also hard for everyone. My husband wondered if the repercussions would cause him to lose his job. But then he was praying one day, while driving and he said a verse came into his mind and stayed there all day. "Do not be afraid. Only obey."

I'll close with Oswald's last words - "Beware of the inclination to dictate to God as to what you will allow to happen if you obey Him."

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