On the Side: February 2023
by Sharon Chatwell
Kicking and screaming…most of the time. Protesting in the loudest and most ridiculous ways imaginable. Much like a disobedient child, who is being drug from a store by a parent; misbehaving just because they didn’t get what they wanted. That’s me. Why? How do you follow Jesus?
For any of you getting ready for Match Day, this is written especially for you. If there is anything that can challenge a marriage, it is a move to a new place, so that your husband can go do a near impossible job for a few years, while you stay at home with small children or go out and make your way in the world…alone. Yep. No need to sugarcoat it for you.
I’ve been there. Several times in fact. Match Day. Fellowship. Full-time Practice. All of these involved moves to new places (and new children, as it turned out). Our fellowship placement moved us from the great state of Texas (that should probably be in all caps) to the soon-to-be frozen tundra of Rochester, Minnesota. Thanks, Mayo.
This Gulf Coast girl had never lived so far north, where there is not only snow but months of below freezing temps. I had to get used to them both. I learned to go to potlucks at church with something called “hotdish,” which is basically a casserole made with cream of mushroom soup, or as they call it, “Lutheran binder.” And I’m not even Lutheran!
I went politely, even willingly, but in retrospect I’m not sure I really knew what I was getting myself into. If I had, I don’t think I would have gone so quietly. I’d have probably been more like that screaming child, which I alluded to earlier.
No, Jesus was very wise in not telling me everything ahead of time. I’d have put up more of a fight!
We don’t often know what God has in store for us, or where He is taking us, or what we will experience when we get there. We often just see what we have or what we are leaving. That’s what causes our, at times, childish responses to His leading.
I don’t know why He, in His good humor, eventually led us to live in beautiful Lincoln, Nebraska (especially when all of Texas was before us.) However, looking back over all the years, I can say it has been the absolute best place for us to be. My husband has had a practice that he loves, and he’s been very faithful with it, bless his heart. Our children grew up here in the love and admonition of the Lord, and that shows. And now there is a new generation of little ones growing up around our ankles.
Despite any kicking and screaming I may have felt like doing, I know this is exactly where we needed to be. And I can be at peace with that.
It is when we kick and scream and (God forbid) flatly refuse to obey God’s leading that we invite disaster. Happily, we have good examples to follow in the Bible.
Think of Abraham’s wife, Sarah (back before their names were changed.) One day Sarah was sitting there at home, when Abraham comes in and says that he just heard from God, who is calling them to a new country. “Okay,” she says, “What new country?” “I don’t know yet,” says Abraham, “God is going to show it to us.”
Unlike a residency program, Sarah had no idea where they were going or how long they would be there. But Sarah was a good wife and she humbled herself to the Lord’s leading. She went with Abraham to the Promised Land. She saw it firsthand with her own eyes. And in her old age, she had the child of promise, Isaac. “For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son” (Romans 9:9, KJV, referencing Genesis 18:10).
We can never know what good thing God is going to do when we follow Him. It may be something we can see with our own eyes, something immediate and tangible, or it may be something further off that requires more faith, like residency. Whatever the situation, we can trust God to take our patient obedience and use it to bless us and our families.
Think of Mrs. Noah. She was just sitting at home one day when her husband comes in and says, “Honey, I have heard from God, and He says that we are to build an ark.” “Okay,” she says, “What’s an ark?” “It’s a big box made out of wood,” he said. “How big?” she asks. “It’s going to be 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high,” says Noah (referencing Genesis 6:15). “Okay,” she says, “What’s a cubit?”
I could do this all day, but you get the idea.
I don’t know where God is leading you, or what really weird thing He may be asking you to do. But I know God’s character and His purpose and His timing, and I know He is planning the exact best thing for you. It is necessary, when God is leading us, for us to follow; preferably humbly and obediently, and not so much kicking and screaming.
Sharon is a wife of a physician, living in beautiful Lincoln, Nebraska, which is currently an ice castle. She recommends following Jesus wherever He leads you, because He knows what is absolutely the best thing for you. Praise His name!