Whenever one must use or be told the word ‘obey’ there is usually some element of defiance that precedes it. Even from a young age, we are inclined to disobey and so children must be continuously coerced to obey. Obedience is not glamorous or attractive.
I have been hearing a song on the radio from a popular gospel music artist in Trinidad and Tobago, being passed as a song fitting for this Christmas season, and though I think the artistic depth is lacking, I guess the short reprise of the chorus is enough to reach the low threshold of ‘gospel’ music to which we are sometimes subjected. In my bid to find the good in everything, and since I am being barraged with the song on the radio, I guess I can appreciate the simple admonition in the chorus that says “Whatever He asks you to do, do it”!
The aspect of obedience that sometimes rubs the raw spots of our reasoning, is our inability to rationalise an action because it seems contrary to what makes sense or what can bring immediate satisfaction. The songwriter mentioned above was referencing the story of Jesus’s first miracle in the wedding where He turned water to wine (John 2:1-11).
The implicit message in the “whatever” is that we ought to do it in obedience whether it makes sense or not, or whether we like it or not.
Though we desire to do the right thing or those specific things that He asks us to do, we sometimes feel ill-equipped or unprepared to move forward in obedience. I certainly can relate to what I believe could have been the wedding hosts’ bewilderment, where in a wine crisis, you’re told to bring water. I could easily presume that the host was probably thinking that Mary, Jesus’s mother, misunderstood the problem because there was no shortage of water at the wedding.
Nonetheless, with uncertain steps and unsure words, we must move in obedience, believing that the answers to our prayers are in the direction of obedience.
Following months of practice, I came down with a very bad flu one week before our choir was scheduled to headline our Carry the Light carol service. Congestion, headaches, runny nose, hacking coughs, and tiredness plagued me for the week, but I was determined to get to the service. The Friday night before our service that Saturday, despite the medication, and peppermint steams, I felt as though someone put a ratchet strap around my face and yanked it so tightly that my face and jaw were stiff. The congestion and pressure in my eustachian tube clogged my left ear and apart from the unrelenting discomfort, I could barely hear from the ear.
Because we must pray in all things, for the entire week I was asking the Lord to help me to be well enough to sing. It was important to show up not just for my fellow choir members but also to reaffirm that God’s business will always be paramount. I struggled and made it to work for most of the week, so I determined that I must make it to church as well.
Too much was happening for me to let the enemy or the flu steal the joy of being a part of this service. So when we arrived last Saturday evening, I donned my gown and armed with my bottle of water, pack of antibacterial wipes, and fist-sized Olbas Oil, I was ready to quell this flu and attack those chords.
It may sound quite ornate, but I wanted to show up, even if it meant metaphorically limping through. I started hesitantly, willing my voice, chest, and runny nose to hold it together for the service. As my husband and I started our duet, which had some pretty high notes, God did something amazing. Miraculously, though momentary, the congestion and discomfort in my voice, head, and throat instantly disappeared, I felt God telling me “I see you”, “Thank you for your obedience”, and “Thank you for showing up”. I was amazed by the message right there in the middle of obedient service.
I reflect on those affirmations as I type this blog and I feel seen and heard by God. He gave me a direct and reassuring Word which He knew I needed at this time.
I am still not feeling great but I thoroughly enjoyed our carol service last evening, not just through the scriptures and music but through the timely comfort and reassurance of God. It's the same obedience that has me tapping away at this keyboard despite how I feel, to keep my commitment to publish something fortnightly, that could encourage someone else.
The breakthrough that we may need may be along the road of obedience and the answers may be on those unpleasant inconvenient paths.
“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.”
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