Last week, we took our church kids to camp. This is the same camp I went to as a child. This having been my 16th year, I can say from experience that this is a place where God meets with people.
It was there, at 9 years old, I first experienced real, heavy conviction over my sin.
The summer I was 15, I got thoroughly right with God and He put deep in me a desire to live for Him no matter what.
When I was 17, it was there at camp that God gave me crystal clear direction for my life and let me know where I was to go to college. Although I didn’t know it at the time, about 2 years later, God was going to bring my husband to that college as well.
Though these are summers I can look back on as being *big events,* there has never been a wasted year or a time when God didn’t show up and help young people and adults alike.
This year was no different.
While I am so thankful we are able to take our young people and have them around the reality of the presence of God, I still need that myself. I still need God to speak to me. ….and He did just that.
On Tuesday morning, a sweet missionary’s wife gave her testimony. She told how she went to the Ukraine on a 3 – month mission trip and God caused her to fall in love with that country…and eventually with the man who was their translator. A few years later, they were married and 4 children later, they are still serving God there and telling the people of Ukraine about Jesus.
She has a brother who is also a missionary to China. He was scheduled to come home for a visit the same time she was supposed to go on her mission trip to Ukraine. She and her brother were very close and she hesitated to miss this opportunity to see him. While trying to decide what she should do, her father told her that in the service of the Lord, things don’t always happen the way that we want them to happen – there must be sacrifices.
She said when she thought of it that way, she got so excited that she had something she could sacrifice for the Lord. As Americans, we know little to nothing of sacrifice for the Gospel’s sake, but this was something she could offer up as a sacrifice to the One who had sacrificed everything for her.
God used that to speak to my heart, and to several others as well.
God showed me that my deep desire for children and a family is something I can sacrifice to Him.
That’s not to say I haven’t surrendered this area of my life to Him before, but there is a difference in being beaten into reluctant submission and offering it freely with open hands.
I may not have to sacrifice my well-being and security to serve God like many do around the world, but I can sacrifice this because He is worthy to have it.
This lifelong dream of a house full of children who squeal and laugh and pray and sing is my sacrifice.
This is something dear to my heart that I can offer the One whose sacrifice causes mine to pale in comparison.
God may choose to give it back to me, just as He did with Abraham and Isaac, but if not, it’s just as well.
He is worthy of anything I can offer Him, and this is something I can lay down with a full, grateful heart and walk away singing a song of love and praise to my Lord.
What’s your sacrifice?
It won’t look like mine probably, but it’s pretty safe to say there is something dear to your heart that you’ve been holding on to with clasped hands in a death grip. I can effectively promise you that laying it down and offering it up to the Lord is so freeing and fulfilling!
What a privilege that we are able to offer ourselves, our hopes, and our dreams as a living sacrifice.
Make no mistake: as His children, God has every right to mold us into what He’d have us to be, and that includes working our rebellion and selfishness out of our hearts.
You know as well as I that there is a world of difference in taking something from a defiant child that will hurt them and them pitching a fit, and explaining to a child that they need to bring this thing to you. Though they may be sad to lose this thing, they understand that it’s for their good, and they bring it as they were asked.
I did the whole crying and pitching a fit thing a few years ago.
Seeing things with the fresh eye God gave me last week has helped so much.
I was already passed the anger phase and was well into the submission phase, but now I’m at the joyful offering phase…and here I hope to stay.
Where are you?
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”