“Daughter, if you love me, you will obey me.” A voice was speaking to my heart as I struggled to hold my tongue and my temper. It didn’t take much these days to upset me. My fuse was short and I felt justified in my feelings. The leadership of our church had decided they couldn’t afford to pay my husband to be their part time Associate Pastor any longer since we had moved into the process of building a brand new building for our growing congregation. Nothing seemed to be making sense anymore.
“Daughter, if you love me, you will obey me.” The voice gentle and more urgent this time got my attention.
“Father, you know that I love you. I live my life for you. My husband and I are Your servants. We work long and hard hours for the Kingdom. How can You even begin to question my love for You?” I was perplexed, wondering what God could be getting at. My life seemed to be in order.
No, I must be imagining things.
“If you truly love me, you will obey me,” There it was again.
“Okay, Father, show me. Where am I not obeying You? Is there something I am not seeing in myself that You see? I think I’m doing pretty good under the circumstances. It’s really hard to handle how this church thing has all turned out. The leadership has not been fair with us and we’re still being pretty nice to them… What? Well, yes, I don’t have fond feelings towards them right now, but… I just don’t understand their thinking. How am I suppose to feel?”
“If you love me, you will obey me.”
“Lord, what does that mean in this situation? How in the world does it apply?”
“Daughter, what did I tell the Pharisee who asked what the most important commandment was?”
“You told him that he must love You with all his heart and soul and strength. I do that, Father, You know how much I love You. I’m a worship leader after all. How can You question my love for You?”
“What is the second thing I told him, of equal importance, daughter?”
“To love his neighbor as himself”
“If you love me, you will obey me. You will obey me when it doesn’t make sense. You will obey me when it’s the last thing you feel like doing. You will obey me in this thing at all cost if you love me.”
“But, Lord, it’s not that I hate them or anything like that. I just don’t like their decisions and they way they have handled everything. It’s hard to have loving feelings towards people who stab you in the back. Can’t You understand that, Lord?”
“Daughter, do you remember the story from my Word about one night in a garden called Gethsemane. Do you recall that I was there praying and facing the choice that would determine destiny for all mankind? Who betrayed me with a kiss? Who ran for their lives? Who denied me 3 times before morning? Do I understand how you feel? Yes, dear daughter, I understand… But I still went to the cross for them and for you, didn’t I?”
“O, Father, forgive me. I see now. I have been so selfish, so worried about me. When all the ones who were suppose to love You abandoned You, You still died for them.”
“If you love me, you will obey me, daughter, and you will love with your life those who hurt you and turn away from you and reject you. I have shown you the way. Follow the way of love no matter what the cost and know the joy of obedience and loving me completely.”
I knew then that I had to let go of my hurt and pain and allow God’s love and grace to flow through me to reach out to those who I felt had betrayed us. Just as Jesus love for the Father moved Him to the cross I must find the strength to follow Him all the way. Love must motivate me to be obedient at all cost.
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