Oh the stubborn prayers I’ve prayed.
I remember it like it was just last week. Tucked under my double-wedding ring quilt, I’d pray until I fell asleep. Every night, as a 9- and 10- and 12-year old, I’d fill those last tired minutes with all the hurts and needs of a little girl’s heart.
Most of the details are lost except one. One prayer I pleaded over and over: “I’ll do anything You want, God. Just please don’t make me be a missionary.”
It wasn’t that I didn’t love the idea of exotic, unreached countries and the hero missionaries who stepped so far out in faith. I just didn’t want to go.
Years passed and I went into law and married a businessman. Though we intentionally taught our kids about missions and actively supported friends on the field, my recurring prayer as a young girl was buried and forgotten.
I was knee-deep in diaper bags and play days when that prayer resurfaced. In the middle of a Bible study on God’s will one afternoon, that childhood prayer came flooding back. For the first time, I saw it for what it was: Yes . . . but. Yes . . . except. Yes . . . on condition.
My heart grieved that I hadn’t fully trusted God with everything and I asked for forgiveness. God didn’t immediately call us into foreign missions, but I committed then and there to have a heart of YES.
Yes, even before I knew the question.
Just before Dan and I left for his business trip on what were to be our last three days together, God planted this thought: just say yes to whatever Dan wants to do. With two people in marriage, there are always two ways to do things. We were about to leave for Dan’s 3-day business trip and then another week of family travel. There would be lots of decisions – take this route or that one, go to this restaurant or that one, go hiking today or fishing.
Now, these aren’t divisive issues in a marriage. We were in a good place with each other and the years had sanded down many of our roughest edges. So I didn’t give it much thought when God prompted my heart to say yes. It was sort of random, but I took it as a challenge and, without ever telling Dan, I said “Sure!” to his favorite café in Miami’s Little Havana and “Great!” to his music on the radio.
And you know what? It was relaxing to the core. He chose; I agreed. Yes, before I even knew the question.
Little did I know those days of Yes would be a forever grace.
For three days, I tasted complete agreement, complete unity, complete rest in our relationship. I wasn’t manning the ship. Because I trusted Dan, I could say yes to whatever he asked.
What a mirror of our relationship with God. Can you imagine the rest that would immediately usher in if we just stopped all the wrestling, all the managing, all the doubting and had a heart that said YES. Sure. Absolutely. I trust You.
Yes before we know the question because God is a good shepherd. John 10:11
Yes before we know the question because God’s way is perfect. 2 Samuel 22:31
Yes before we know the question because God’s way is blessing. Psalm 40:4, Psalm 2:12
Yes before you know the question because you are the apple of His eye, his delight and He adores you. Zechariah 2:8; Psalm 18:19
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Jen Ferguson says
This is so good. Just say ‘yes’ because God is good. I think I have spent quite some time saying ‘yes’ to a lot of other things – things He didn’t ask. What a difference it makes to be so in tune with Jesus.
Lisa Appelo says
Yes so true Jen! We need discernment to know when God is asking and when He’s not.
This is beautiful! Just say yes because I trust God….hard yet so rewarding! Thank you for you great inspiration today!
Thank you for this article. I am in a transitional phase in life right now where some big decisions lie ahead and needed the reminder to just tell God “yes” to whatever that may be. Thank you!
Lisa Appelo says
Eileen, I just prayed for clear direction in your transition.
Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says
Lisa, this is beautiful on so many levels. Thank you so much for sharing (and for linking up to Works for Me Wednesday)!
Lisa Appelo says
Thank you Mary! I love your site and I’m so glad you’re hosting What Works for Me Wednesday.
I really cried a lot while reading this, and long before I finished reading. Thank you for this Lisa.. I think God really wanted me to read this.. I just don’t know what to do right now. I’ve known God for like five years or more. and i really want to serve Him.in any way. But you see I’m not so good at saying yes. I grew up so independent. And i trust myself more than anyone and anything. Sometimes i trust myself more over God…I juts don’t know where to start..
Lisa Appelo says
Claire, I’m going to let you in on a secret: we all struggle with that. The “I know better than You, God” is as old as Adam and Eve. You just push go and start. ONE decision at a time. You’ll see that God really is faithful and His directions to us really are way better. That will make your faith grow, like a muscle you’ve worked out, though til we reach heaven I believe God will call us deeper toward him and will keep stretching our faith. I don’t want to miss it. Praying for you this morning!
Thanks for sharing this. l like to be in control and know what I’m agreeing to, but there is a peace from surrendering to God and not trying to control things but just going with what he wants. I can see that, I just need to learn to do it. I know that he is trustworthy and whatever he is asking is for good and I want to say yes to him, whatever he asks.
Kristi Woods says
Yes, just yes. Gosh, I didn’t even know you at the time of the Key West trip, but am I ever thankful you said “yes”. Ever thankful to God for His grace….. xo #livefreeThursday
Debbie Williams says
Yes! What a difference saying it makes to God and to our spouses. Loved it – deciding before.
Lisa- I LOVED this! Yes, before even asked. LOVE IT! This spoke to me on so many levels, Lisa! xoxoShannon
I. Needed. This.
I have such a problem of letting go and letting my husband be in control of anything. This really hits home and makes me realize that I do this with God too. This was a DEFINITE sign from God to wake me up.
Thank you so much for posting this!!!