A Strange Dichotomy
Laurie Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope found in Jesus. She is the author of Letters from My Father’s Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness, an incredible true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God. Her story was featured in Billy Graham’s film, Heaven, as well as on many other national and regional radio and television programs. She is a contributor to Zondervan’s NIV Bible for Women and writes at LaurieCoombs.org. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their three daughters.
- 2015 Jan 21
There's a strange dichotomy that goes on in this head of mine. The moment I gave my life to Christ, I felt a strong, relentless desire to abandon myself to God's call to ministry. A desire to proclaim the excellencies of God to this world. To shout His praises from the highest of high mountains that all may know and see that Jesus is who He says He is. So that, as 1 Kings 8:60 says, "all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God." I wanted to lift my voice and proclaim boldly, "Behold your God!" (Isaiah 40:9).
I had been plucked out of the mire, out of a deep dark pit of despair, and I wanted others to know what I had come to know.
"People need to know this," I'd say. "God is who He says He is. He is real. And He actually does, today, what He did back then in the Bible!" You see, prior to this, I had thought the story of Bible was a fanciful fairytale concocted to make people feel better about their lives and the world around them. I thought the whole God-thing was a crutch used by the weak to get by. But then I discovered that Jesus wasn't the strange mythological character I once saw Him to be but was in fact the only true source of life and love and peace and wholeness. That Jesus was God, Himself, who had come to bind my wounds and give me life.
I have witnessed God to the impossible in my life time and again, and I can honestly say that I have the desire to proclaim the good news of the gospel more than ever before.
But herein lies the dichotomy.
My desire to do the will of God––to share the love of Christ, to spur others on toward healing and wholeness through forgiveness and love––has never wavered. But it does seems that my own selfish desire to control what my life looks like often gets in the way. Every one of us has a call on our lives. There is not one person in the family of God who doesn't have a role to play in God's story of redemption, and rest assured, every role matters. No one call is greater than any other. But I believe we're all presented with the same challenge. We all must choose to lay ourselves down for the sake of following Jesus.
"Not my will, but yours..." I whisper, wanting the will of God to reign in my heart and mind and life while struggling to let go of plans I planned long ago.
My life is not what I thought it would be. That's a good thing. I know it's a good thing. I believe it's a good thing. I truly only want what God has planned for me and my life. And even though I don't struggle in this area often, there have been seasons where it find it more difficult to abandon myself to the call. Two seasons, really. One when God called me to write the book (which will be released this summer!) and another just recently when launched into my speaking ministry.
You see, God has given me a vision for where He's taking me. I see big things. And that's exciting. But that's also a bit terrifying. "What's that going to look like?" I question. "How am I going to be able to do that and still be the wife and mother I'm called to be?"
God's calling me to the world. Go ye into all the world, I hear Him whisper.
And I wonder, What does that mean? Can my family go with me? Am I called to missions? Or is this simply a call to speak more extensively away from home?
I honestly don't know, but I do know that I'm called to go. And so I'm going. Never once have I allowed my wrestlings to stop me from pursuing God's call on my life, and I hope you won't either because if there's one thing I know it's that God calls each of us to go. That will look different for every one of us. How to execute God's call must be determined through prayer and counsel, but the call is the same for each of us––the Great Commission is for every Christ follower.
Jesus said, "'...Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'”
We're to go. This is our calling. But the pursuit of our calling requires us to live outside of our comfort zone. It requires us to lay down our preconceived notions of how our lives would play out. It requires us to put it all on the table before God and allow Him to do with it what He wills. That can be a scary thing, I know. Living out our calling is not comfortable, but when we live a life committed to saying yes to God, our lives will be undeniably marked by the grace of God. And that grace will not stop with us. It will spread, like a virus, to those around us, allowing us to see changed hearts and lives. Standing tall, we boldly proclaim the message of the gospel to a broken, dying, and lost world, and we will not be able to contain the incredibly infectious ripple effect of grace through our obedience to the call.
Won't you join me?
Let's shout God's praises, now and always, until the whole world hears!
Any thoughts? Share in the comments.