Ok I am going to lay out a scenario for y’all…
So let’s say I walk into Half & Half Tea House ready to get my bubble tea on and the place is straight bumpin’. It’s a little later in the evening so it’s pretty crowded and like any good Southern Californian, I decided to politely push my way into the line ignoring when the short Cantonese guy calls me a gweilo in protest (We are at a tea house in San Gabriel). I order my Almond Milk tea, which I swear is the nectar of the boba gods and I’m about to take a seat when I see… her. There she is sitting there in her jeans, UC sweatshirt and high-heels playing on her bedazzled smartphone complete with a domo key chain (again tea house) lookin’ all sorts of fine, and say to myself, “Self, its time to make a move.’ So I walk over and as smooth as silk, and by some sort of divine intervention, we start up a conversation. Now, there are a couple of ways this can play out. Either we talk for a little, I quickly find out she is not a believer, and I friend zone it because I am not real big into that entire “flirt to convert” ministries. Or…
We get talking and she is a born-again believer. Hallelujah. Our conversation gets going and she starts playing with her hair and covering her face with both hands when she laughs. I am in, right? In In In INNNNNN! Say it with me, brother, INNN! But before I can start planning our wedding and naming our future children, something happens. I drop the big one, “So I want to be a missionary.” Suddenly, the smile falters if only for a second and the hair stops being twirled as the reality of living in a hut starts to sink in. Then I hear it, the most dreaded of all Christian trump cards. “That’s so awesome for you. I am not really called to that though.’ Crash and burn baby, somebody better whip out the forever alone parade float because I am this year’s float queen.
So now I am driving home and I start to have a little chat with the Big Man upstairs that goes something like “What the heck God? Am I not serving you? Am I not giving up enough for you? Where’s my smoking hot wife? Where’s my Eve, my Ruth ? You know what God? I’m done, I am done feeling alone, I am done with this missionary life.” This would often be the pattern for me when I first became a Christian, first felt the “call” and to be honest sometimes it’s still a struggle with it.
A real breakthrough for me came while I was in Thailand walking down the street near where my mission team was staying during a conversation with our team leader Livio. We were both sweating like crazy in the Thai sun when Livio began sharing something he had always appreciated about his family was that his dad was very young when he was born. When the other childrens father were huffing and puffing or just sitting on the bench Livios dad would be right there toe to toe with his hyperactive son. He said because of this experience he always wanted to be a young dad like his father, but because of the difficulty inherent with missionary work he hadn’t been able to meet a girl, and well you need a wife to have kids usually. He then almost nonchalantly said that if God told him tomorrow that he would never get married until he was 88 years old he would still serve Him faithfully.
This is when It finally clicked for me, I was making my joyful obedience to God conditional. I am saying God, You give me a hot wife and I will be happy about the call You have put on my life. You give me what I want Lord and I will follow You. I am trying to make a deal with God in these moments, as if His excruciatingly painful death on the cross was not a sufficient payment for my life, and I need Him to add something on the side to sweeten the deal.
We all have obstacles and desires that hold us back from doing the things that God has called us to do. For some of us, we are waiting for God to provide a wife or husband before we obey Him. For another its if God gets them that job or into that dream school, then they will do what God called them to do. So I have some questions for you. What is your price? What are you demanding from God before you follow Him, and is it worth more than His death?