Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Volunteer (11/23/06)
TITLE: Involuntary Adjustments
By Dave O'Neil
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I have never been a volunteer. Raised in the church, I have served on different committees, signed up for Cleanup Saturday, and taken part in various planning meetings. I have never been a volunteer. I always appreciated verses about bearing our own cross, or suffering for Christ’s sake. I appreciated them all the more because I honestly didn’t experience it myself. I had heard of that kind of thing. David was a great example of taking on adversity. He volunteered to fight Goliath because he felt that God wanted him to. He knew that God would provide the strength to do it. His story is incredible. David was a volunteer. I have never been a volunteer.
Is bearing my cross finding the nerve to walk across the street and ask my neighbor if he would like to come to church? Perhaps shoveling snow for the elderly? Is my Goliath my transmission needing an undetermined amount of surgery, or when someone smirks if they see my Bible? Why are there so many verses about pain and suffering for Christ’s sake, and how He provides for and blesses us when we experience it? Where is the pain and suffering?
The greatest spiritual barrier we have today is putting something in our life ahead of God. Whether it is a person, career, possession, or anything else that we cherish, or even an addiction, letting go can be nearly impossible. Why do we not trust a God who loves us and only wants what is best for us? When God asks us to do something His blessing and provision for us are always greater than the cost, no matter how insurmountable the request. Abraham was asked to give up a loved one, his son, who must have meant everything to him. Everything except his obedience to God. Abraham was willing, but God spared him. An even greater sacrifice was our Heavenly Father offering His son on our behalf. We will never know what pain was involved and what price was paid on the cross. Christ bore our sin willingly. He was the ultimate volunteer.
I have never been a volunteer. I have, however been a comfortable member of a church. I have also, quite willingly put something ahead of my relationship with God. The last three or four months have been, by far, the most difficult, confusing and painful of my life. When these adjectives permeate our thoughts and emotions, day after day, there is no choice but to turn to God to carry us, much like the popular poem, Footprints. Through these events, God has changed my life in incredible ways. As a result He has recently asked me to do difficult and costly things that I have accepted, where in the past I could not have. I thank Him for this opportunity. Consequently, the past three or four months have also been the best of my life. The immediate future holds more difficulty as some of these issues are played out, and I pray that I can thank Him for that as well.
I did not volunteer for this makeover. If I could go back I would have made the adjustments with His help rather than by His decree. Surely the pain would have been much less. I was a square peg and He wanted me to go through a triangular hole. Ouch! I have experienced what I have because I made the mistake of taking God out of first place. He is a jealous God and did what He had to. I know that He is working constantly in our lives, and only He knows where that will lead. Now I’m a triangle. Maybe with His help I can be a volunteer, too.
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