I've heard those words a hundred times lately..."Hey Josh, Follow Me!" It seems our little Nicole is a born leader. And her brother would follow her anywhere. Joshua also has one of the sweetest hearts of any 2 year old boy I know. He is almost always willing to give up his toys, his seat, or his snack for her (now, if I can only teach her not to take advantage of that we'll be ok). Once in a great while he gets stubborn and I hear "NO" reverberating through the whole house. When this happens I explain to Nicole - just wait a few minutes and he'll come around to your way of thinking. And he usually does...a few minutes later they are playing together happily.
One morning last week, after reviewing my lessons from the book of Matthew, I pictured myself in the same scenerio - only with two different characters. You see, Joshua's willingness to 'get up and go' for Nicole is exactly what Jesus expects from me.
Matthew 16:24 says,
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
In the early days of my walk with the Lord, I was so much like Joshua. I'd go anywhere the Lord asked me...without hesitation. Is that still the same today? Let's just say that the 2 year old comes out in me more and more often these days. I find myself screaming "NO" because I want it my way. You want me to do what?!? Learn a lesson, experience pain, deal with a difficult child, go where, apologize to whom? I have better plans than that!
One of my favorite songs is "Bring the Rain" by Mercy Me. However, I admit that I cringe every time I sing the chorus (so do my children in the car...but that's because I don't sing very well)...
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain
How many people out there can honestly say..."Lord, please bring me pain if it brings You glory." Sure, we endure it when it comes...we even know the He will get us through it. We pray for Him to be glorified in the end. But not too many of us seek it out for the sake of His glory. Even Jesus spoke out loud his hesitation regarding the suffering He was about to endure on the cross...
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." Luke 22:42
OK, I guess I shouldn't beat myself up so much. God cares about me - my life, my problems, my dreams and desires. It's alright to tell Him what I want...or don't want for that matter. Is He surprised when I say "NO"...not really, after all He made me and He knows me better than I know myself. As long as I surrender myself to Him in the end..."not my will, but Yours be done" we'll be just fine. And fortunately, He is patient with me and, just like Joshua, I usually do come around to His way of thinking.
Lord, help me to follow You at all cost. Take my dreams and desires and mold them so they align with Your plan for my life. Help me to always glorify You, especially during the hard times, so that others may want to follow You as well. I love you Lord!