The crucial question in each moment

He asks the question in a hundred different ways and a million different places. In Exodus and Jeremiah and Revelation, in busyness and stillness and illness, through blessings poured out and gifts taken back, through red leaves falling and warm apple crisp and sick days when the do list is too long. The question is always the same, and how you answer it will change your life.

It’s rather a shame: we think of the question only one day each year, and then it’s ringed with hearts and a tiny cupid. In truth, it’s the wild and powerful question that rings through every moment of every day, whispered and spoken and cried by the all-powerful God who passionately pursues. Pursues you. “Will you be Mine?” Will you be all Mine, only and ever Mine?”

Last week the question arrived wrapped in different words as I chafed, again, at increased limitations. I wanted to write, to study, to mentor, to join a worship team. Instead I needed another nap.  In the midst of the frustration,  I heard Him ask, “Is it enough if the only work I ever give you is to love me by taking care of yourself?” “Is it enough if I ask you to seek Me and find Me in the same places your whole life, the places of weakness and dependence and need?”

I could hear the deeper question. Not “is it enough?” but “Am I enough? Will you be satisfied simply with my presence, or will you always be seeking Me plus something more? Some new way of being. Some sign of progress. Some new work or pleasure or ministry. Am I enough?

My heart is sneaky. I could hear it whisper, “Maybe if we say ‘yes’ he’ll let us move onto something bigger.” But that’s not acceptance. That’s manipulation. And the question remained, “Is He enough?” Is it enough to know myself held in the midst of fear? Is it enough that He promises to be with me even when I can’t feel His presence? Is it enough to write the same truth again and again and again because I need to hear it one more time?

He has made me and bought me and I am His and He is only ever Love. And whether He chooses to put me to work or lay me aside is up to Him. And if and when and how he chooses to meet me and fill me and use me is up to him. And yes, yes, YES,  my Lord, You are enough!

One friend talks about her fear of suffering and another asks how to find her identity in Jesus instead of in work and I realize that we only ever ask these big questions because His own bigger question is stirring in our hearts, “Will you be Mine?” We may not know how to make it all happen and we may fear to give Him our yes, but He is strong and He is gentle and we can always lay our fears open before Him and ask Him to do in us what only He can do. And this is all He asks.

For the first time in my life I can understand – and dare to echo – Paul’s startling statement: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil 3:10) Every time He has taken me through suffering, it has been the door deeper into His presence. It doesn’t make it easy; suffering, by definition, contains pain. But it makes it worth it. Oh, so worth it! Paul can only speak this way because of what came just before. “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.” (Phil 3:8-9 NLT)

Dare with me, will you? Dare to listen for His question echoing through the moments of your days. “Will you be Mine? All Mine?” And dare to open to Him those places too scared to say “yes” and ask Him to do in you what He is longing to do. . . to give you the joy of being all His.

4 thoughts on “The crucial question in each moment

  1. Bonita Dirk says:

    THank you for this!!! Challenging and encouraging. I need the reminder that he is there and He is worth it.

    Thanks!
    B

  2. Carolyn, thank you for the reminder that He is enough. May we believe this more and more deeply and be pulled less and less by the desire for “something more”.

  3. spide11 says:

    What a wonderful challenge and how ashamed I am so often when I recognize my “Jesus +” mentality dominating my thinking. I rarely respond to your posts but truly enjoy each one.

    My struggle these days is especially with chronic pain. It facilitates anger, self pity, and other sins I was better able to handle in the past. Four surgeons agree that surgery is not an option for my mangled spine. The morbidity and mortality factors far out weigh the possible relief. So, with Job, I pray for relief and live to suffer another day.

    The verse that especially haunts me from Scripture is:
    Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)
    Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

    The Lord tells me to be content with what I have because I have Him! I have Him today and forever. Whoever has deserted me He never will!!

    How often I insult my beloved Lord by being a malcontent having only Him! Yet He forgives me once more and I take the next faltering steps toward eternity with His hand in mine.

    Keep on with your sensitive, biblically accurate writing. It will take eternity for you to learn all the hurting people whose lives have been wonderfully affected by your gift.

    Blossom where the Lord has planted you.

    Bless you,

    Gordon Rumford
    Sent from my iPad

    • Dear Gordon, Thank you so much for your blessing and for your honest sharing. I think your words articulate precisely what makes suffering such a wide-open doorway into deeper intimacy with Christ. In suffering (whatever form it may take), we discover that when we are utterly unable to love Him the way we want to, He still loves us without reserve. He does not condemn us for our weakness, but in fact suffers with us in our suffering. “In all their distress, he too was distressed. . .” (Isaiah 63:9)
      May you know Him ever so gently holding you and loving you in each moment of pain.
      Much grace to you, Carolyn

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