I stood at the bedside of my son who the doctors said wouldn’t make it three more days. I had a ticket to Brasil in my jacket pocket and a promise that if I did in that nation what God asked me to do, He would save my three sons and their wives, as He did for Noah.
I stood there thinking, “God, I can’t leave. That’s my boy.” I was searching for the Gethsemane strength to say, “Yes,” not balking on my commitment to God.
I’ll never forget His words:
“You can stay here with your son, and you can give him what you can give him, or you can go to Brasil as I’ve asked you and I’ll come and give him what I can give him.”
I went to Brasil. God came to my boy. Leukemia lost the battle, eleven years ago.
Obedience Without Limits
I learned so much in that moment about God. Obedience can be full or limited, resisted or fulfilled, good intentions or sacrificial.
But, there is that which God will do where He finds 100% obedience that is not available without obedience without limits.
You cannot have full obedience without full submission. Strength for full obedience is released where God finds full submission.
Remember, God will always ask you to do what you cannot do without Divine grace and strength, and He will test that measure in His servants.
He did so with Paul so full grace and Divine strength would be available to the one experiencing great revelation. Paul’s submission to the method of God’s enemy pushed the buttons for greater grace flow and Divine strength. Paul’s submission was God’s opportunity.
We sometimes see obedience in terms of reaching an agreement with God on the basis of negotiation.
“Surely God would never ask me to do this!” So, we approach 80% obedience as a good negotiating position from which to appeal to God for less than full obedience. We offer God less, and hope He will be moved by human measurements of submission.
He is never moved by our measures! He is pressing us in Gethsemane presses and pressures until we sweat great drops of blood and will die in the garden without Divine strength. An angel came and strengthened Jesus so death could not keep Him from the fullness of submission. That submission reached fullness in His last words from the Cross, “Father, into Your hands I release My spirit.”
Jesus knew His Father would raise Him from among the dead, but only by His submission to death could that victory be won.
Stop Short or Finish Strong?
How many times have we shorted ourselves and the kingdom on grace and strength by negotiation, stopping short, offering abbreviated obedience on the basis of human measure? How often have we told God what “fair” means. How often have we said that God would never ask us to do that, when God is the One Who measures full obedience?
Extraordinary grace and God-strength isn’t available when we stop short! God does not negotiate on the basis of good intentions or “why isn’t this that I have offered You enough?”
God doesn’t want your best. He wants it all.
“All of God” comes on the other side of “all of me”.
We wish to negotiate a mixture of “what I want” with “what God wants” so that we move nearer and nearer to manipulating God to do what we want. As we do, we empty out what God makes available, and pretty soon we are pleased with ourselves for spending it all on a fleeting fluff of fickle fancy, flights of futility, living in Ecclesiastes more than Acts.
To find fullness, finish strong!
God said to me, “You can stay and give your son what you can give him, or you can obey Me, and I’ll come and give him what I can give him.”
My son came off that bed in three days! The doctors had said I would never see him alive again. But, he is healed!
Think how it feels to walk away from your son, fly to another nation, preach without distraction, release healing to hundreds of other people’s sons, while you have no communication to know if your son is alive or dead.
Am I a hero of faith? No! I am a man emptied of self, recognizing what I can give anyone is one tick above slug spit. But a man so committed to God that he finishes obedience releases something of heaven that cancer, death, hell, and pain cannot overcome!