Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Long Obedience

So as our deferred tax day draweth nigh, the idea of "the long obedience" keeps circling in my mind.

In my Bible study, the author described this idea of the long obedience. When Naomi and her daughters-in-law were heading to Bethlehem, Naomi urged them more than once, to go home to their own people. Their decisions to go with Naomi weren't just one-time decisions. In fact, Orpah gave up and turned around upon further prodding. Ruth, however, chose to continue on her path.

Sometimes I SO want to Orpah this whole lifestyle we've got going on and head back to more predictable waters; however, this is the life God called us to live. About five years ago now, my husband felt that God was calling him to quit his predictable, secure job to start a business. So, if you know my husband, you know he is obedient. He did it. He quit that job and started a business without a single client. Since then, God actually called me to also leave my predictable, secure job as a teacher, and we began living a crazy unpredictable, God-sustained life. We genuinely have no idea, ever, how much money will come in during a month. We live by faith alone. At first, it was incredibly hard. I was anxious and stressed all the time. The waves of difficulty smoothed out a bit though, or at least my reaction to them did. I don't live in a constant state of fear or worry over our finances, but honestly it is sometimes still really difficult. There are many months when the numbers just don't add up (especially tax months!), and I wonder, "God, what are you doing? Is this really what you have for us?" It's been five years now, and since we've received no new direction from Him, we are choosing to walk the path of the long obedience. I'm not gonna lie, sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Five years feels like a REALLY LONG TIME.... but then I am reminded of someone like Noah, who spent maybe ONE HUNDRED YEARS building an ark. Noah didn't do anything wrong. He wasn't being punished. In fact, he was being singled out and blessed. He was going to save his family and the human lineage. Ok, in light of a hundred years, five years isn't so bad. I sometimes wonder if we'll be like one of the folks listed in the Hebrews "hall of faith" who don't get to see the promise in their lifetime, but die welcoming it from afar. Let me just tell you the truth. I am REALLY hoping that's not God's plan for me. REALLY. SERIOUSLY. I'd much prefer a radical six-year turnaround! :)

Don't get me wrong. I am so thankful for what God HAS done over the past five years. There is absolutely NO reason we should have survived. There's no reason, other than God, that we've paid all our bills, never had to pay a late fee for anything, had people leave money on our doorstep, give us two FREE cars, pay our medical bills, or buy us groceries unbidden. That's God. That's miraculous and has really changed my perspective for when/if God sees fit to give us a different lifestyle. When a friend showed up to buy me groceries because God told her to do so, we needed groceries. Never again will I question God's prompting on things like that. Seriously. The enemy's not gonna try to get me to go buy someone groceries, right!?! :)

Anyway, if you're plugging along in the long obedience, choosing God's path day after day, not knowing what's next and sometimes wondering what in the world you are doing, you are not alone. Here I am hashing it out alongside you!


  1. A great word Jennifer. Thank you for sharing with all of us! I feel like I should dedicate a wall somewhere in my house where we write good words that we can look on when times get rough or when we just need an extra dose of faith!!

  2. very encouraging...thanks for sharing. :)