Radical Obedience: When Loving God Is Hard

Jen CudmoreFaith0 Comments

Is ‘disappointed’ the right word for how I feel?

I stand still in the shower, water as hot as I can handle, and let my tears mingle with the spray. Leaning my head against the tile, I try to keep quiet so my family won’t notice.

Because they couldn’t possibly understand how alone I am.

I try to pray and let You hold me. You see my struggle to put feelings into words and You wait patiently as  my jumbled thoughts come out in spurts.

I just don’t understand. You’ve asked me to do some pretty radical things, and yet so far, nothing good seems to come of it. Why have You challenged me with these things? What is the purpose of my looking so foolish in front of others?

This year You’ve put me in some very uncomfortable situations, prodding me out of my comfort zone and calling me to be courageous. But I don’t feel any closer to You. I don’t see the beauty in it. I don’t feel anything special. Right now I don’t get how these things achieve anything for the Kingdom.

You’re so patient as I speak my concerns. It’s not that I’m resentful, or that I don’t intend to listen anymore. You’ve told me in all the confusion that I will find treasures. But the loneliness is quite painful tonight. I wonder if there is anyone else out there who’s experienced what I’ve experienced, or can even catch a glimpse of understanding.

Has anyone else been asked to lay prostrate in a church parking lot to pray – regardless of what might be picked up on camera?

Has anyone else been commanded to walk around a building with their hands raised in praise – regardless of who may drive by?

Has anyone else been inspired to go into that little chapel alone and sing for You – regardless of who might hear and come looking?

Has anyone else been instructed to boldly share godly dreams and visions with their church leaders about where You’re working, as if they can’t seek You themselves?

. . . I’ve never felt so foolish, or so lonely.

Activities like this make me look crazy. People don’t understand. Why would You ask this of me?

The other day, You reminded me through a friend that many people in the Bible looked foolish in their obedience. Abraham, when he tried to sacrifice his only son. David, when he danced basically naked before the ark. Jeremiah, when he wore sackcloth and rolled in ashes. Hosea, when he took a prostitute for a wife. So I suppose I’m in good company.

You did say that obedience is better than sacrifice. But all that doesn’t make it any easier.

I suppose it wouldn’t seem so hard if I could see some results… if I could just understand Your plan. When You told Beth to brush a stranger’s hair in the airport, did You not immediately show her why? Yet for me, there are so few answers.

Even as I type, I wonder if anyone will ‘get me’. My mentor says You’re proud of me, that what I’ve done in obedience is beautiful, and that others will agree. Then why can’t I see or feel any of that? Why do I worry about what others think, when they don’t walk in my shoes? Am I too wrapped up in myself?

You gently remind me that You warned me about this. Several years ago, when You asked me to go deeper with You, where so many Christians refuse to go. You told me that part of the journey would be lonely, and I agreed anyway.

I agreed anyway.

So for tonight, I simply let You hold me as the tears flow, and tell myself for the hundredth time that I don’t need the approval or agreement of others. I can rest in the peace that passes understanding. Because I know this is just a season, and I accept that. Because I know You are incredibly good, that You always have my best interests at heart.

And because I love You back. As best as I know how. Even when it’s hard.

 

About Jen Cudmore

I’m a wife, mom, blogger and novelist who also works a day job in the medical field. I grew up on the Columbia River Gorge, earned a BA in Psychology at Northwest University, and am currently very active in my church. My passion is inspiring women to seek Jesus in all aspects of life so they can recognize where they are living in bondage and be set free to live the abundant life God promises. You can connect with me at www.jencudmore.com.

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