Go to the hard places.

After having several people recommend the book “Kisses from Katie,” {by Katie Davis} to me, I finally made a point to stop by our church library and check it out. I’m so glad I did…I found her story and words to be so challenging and encouraging. Katie’s story is one of falling in love with Jesus, and later with the people and land of Uganda. Straight out of high school, she moved there on her own and learned to live in total dependence on God has she cared for and poured out His love on those around her…and as He gave her 13 little girls to adopt and raise as a single mother.

Although her story is very different from my own, a lot of what she said really resonated with me. Everything below is her writing, from her book. It’s good stuff.

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~ “I came to understand and believe with more passion than ever that God is in control. I mean absolute, complete, sovereign control.”

~ “I didn’t realize then, but I strongly believe now that here is a common misconception that whatever happens to us is the will of God. It’s as though we think: Okay, I can do whatever I want and God will either do something or He won’t and that will be His will. It will all work out. It will all happen just like it needs to. I don’t believe this anymore. I believe that God is in control, yes, but I also believe I have a choice: I can follow Him or I can turn my back on Him. I can say yes to Him, or I can say no. I can go to the hard places or I can remain comfortable. And if I remain comfortable, God who loves us unconditionally will continue to love me anyway. I may still see His glory revealed in my life and recognize His blessings, but not like I could have. I can miss the will of God. The rich young ruler certainly did. He didn’t fall dead, as Ananias and Sapphira did; and maybe he went on to live a great life, but it wasn’t the life he could have lived had he said yes to what Jesus was asking of him. I don’t ever want to miss God’s will again. …. I don’t want to miss what He has for me. Ever, ever again.”

~ “When I have a rough day, or several rough days in a row …. I can easily forget why I do what I do. I used to repeat to myself, ‘Do not forget in the darkness what you have been promised in the light.’ When my days are dark and difficult, I am tempted to look around and think, Why? Why do I do this? …What am I doing here? I do not usually forget the answer to all these questions: For Jesus. Because He called me to this and because He gave His life for me. This means that it has been granted to me, it is my privilege, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him {Philippians 1:29}. That suffering is not along, but is with Him, and oh, what a privilege it is just to be able to be in His presence, to share that with my sweet Savior. This is what it means when I say I do it for Jesus. He loved me first; I love Him back. And sometimes it hurts. But even then it is pure joy to even be considered worthy to share in His suffering. That is the promise: not that He is sorry that it hurts, but that He sees; that He knows; that He is here with us.”

~ “I have learned along my journey that if I really want to follow Jesus, I will go to the hard places. Being a Christ follower means being acquainted with sorrow. We must know sorrow to be able to fully appreciate joy. Joy costs pain, but the pain is worth it. After all, the murder had to take place before the resurrection. I’ll be honest: The hard places can seem unbearable. It’s dark and it’s scary, and even though I know God said He will never leave or forsake me, sometimes it’s so dark that I just can’t see Him. But then the most incredible thing happens: God takes me by the hand and walks me straight out of the hard place and into the beauty on the other side. He whispers to me to be thankful, that even this will be for His good. It takes awhile sometimes, coming out of the dark place. Sometimes God and I come out into a desert and he has to carry me through too. Sometimes I slip a lot on the way out and He has to keep coming back to get me. Always, on the other side is something beautiful because He has used the hard place to increase my sense of urgency and to align my desires to His. I realize that it was there that he was closest to me, even in the times when I didn’t see Him. I realize that the hard places are good because it is there that I gained more wisdom, and through wisdom comes sorrow, and on the other side of sorrow is joy. And a funny thing happens when I realize this: I want to go to the hard place again. Again and again and again. So we go. This is where our family is today and where I hope to stay – loving, because He first loved us. Going into the hard places, entering into the sorrow because He entered for us first and because by His grace, redemption and beauty are on the other side.”

~ “A few months ago I was reading in Matthew 17 the story of Peter asking Jesus if He was required to pay the temple tax. Jesus answers that He will pay the tax as not to offend anyone and sends Peter to catch a fish. …. Peter opens the mouth of that first fish he catches and there in its mouth is exactly enough money to pay both Jesus’ tax and his. I am so thankful that I serve this kind of God. He loves to love us. He delights in surprising us. The funniest thing about this story to me is that Jesus could have just handed Peter the money. … But Jesus wanted to come through bigger than that for Peter. I believe that He delighted in Peter so much that He wanted to put this element of surprise and hilarity in his day. Possibly Jesus was using this as another lesson in crazy trust or crazy obedience for Peter. … And once again, God was not too big for the littlest detail. There in the mouth of that fish was the money to pay the tax. ‘Surprise, I am right here. Surprise, it is just as I said it would be. Surprise, I am exactly enough, everything you need, all over again.’ …

I prayed and He could have pulled the answer right out of His pocket. But He didn’t, because He loves me too much and His way is better. I can laugh with my Father because He is a parent who delights in surprising His children, a friend who loves doing something extra special for His closest pal. I can laugh with Jesus, because He is too good to me. Life changes in an instant and we are but grass that withers. And God holds all of the chaos in the palm of His hand, giving even the pain a purpose. …

A year later I can say, ‘Yes, this year has been the hardest yet. Really, though, it has also been the best. And I would do it all again if He asked me to.’ Because faithful God did not let go of our hands. I am young and I know that the most difficult times are not behind us. But as I rest in Him and draw near I am learning much and I am remembering that I am one of His favorites. And even in the middle of a storm, even when I can’t see the good yet, He can. And He is looking at me with that twinkle in His eye, just waiting to surprise.”

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Amen and amen.

Blessed am I.

 

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2 thoughts on “Go to the hard places.

  1. I loved the passages you posted from this book. It sounds like a great book that I will have to read! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂 Have a great weekend.

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