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Following God is costly

abby

This past summer I worked as a youth ministry intern at my home church, a job that included sharing the teaching responsibilities for the middle school youth group.

One of the lessons I taught was on the story of Gideon. Gideon was a nobody by most standards, not the most likely hero in all of Israel. Then one day an angel showed up and told him that he would be used by God to bring freedom to the oppressed Israelites. The angel burns up the food Gideon gave him and disappears.

The rest of Gideon’s story involves God asking Gideon to trust him over and over and over again as he cuts down his army and provides him with musical instruments and household objects for weapons. You can read all about it in Judges 6-7.

But the part of Gideon’s story that I always come back to is a moment in Judges 7:19, when Gideon and his 300 men come to the outskirts of the Midianites’ valley camp and are looking out over this massive army that is spreading out as far as they can see. They have no idea what’s next, but there they are, with torches, jars and trumpets because that’s where God told them to be.

When I was eight years old I committed my life to a God much bigger than I could imagine. I said I would submit myself to his will for my life and leave my selfish desires at the foot of the cross.

As an eight year old I had no idea what that might mean. As a 19 year old I’m only beginning to understand how terrifying that can be. Yeah, I said it. Terrifying.

Being brought to my knees in utter dependence on God over recent years has led me to ask the question, “Is there too much for God to ask of me?”

I said I would do anything God called me to, but isn’t that what all the other kids in catechism class were saying? I said I didn’t need my material “stuff” but isn’t that what my parents told me when they wanted me to share with my brothers?

I said I would completely hand over my dreams and fears and desires to the Lord of all creation, but isn’t that exactly what we were taught in Sunday school?

When God asks me for all I have and more, when he calls me to fight an army larger than can fit into my field of vision, how will I respond?

When I hold back and refuse to trust that God will not abandon me when I follow his voice into what appears to be darkness, am I not saying that everything he has done for me has not been enough?

Time and again, God has met my needs and more. Money has appeared out of nowhere. Healing has come in the midst of pain. Brokenness has given way to beauty.

My plans have rarely panned out in the way I expected, but usually I find out my plans weren’t the best ones out there. Imagine that — God actually did know what I needed better than I did.

These are the cliches we’ve grown up with and heard thousands of times. But these have already been the realities of daily life for some of us here at Calvin and will be for all of us at some point in life. Do we really believe that following Christ is worth any cost?

This is an opinion piece and does not necessarily represent the views of Calvin Chimes, Calvin College or the Christian Reformed Church. 

About the Author

Abby Paternoster

Abby Paternoster is the Chimes opinion and editorial editor for the 2013-14 school year. She is a sophomore from Ann Arbor, Michigan studying international development and social work. She loves to travel, experience new cultures and witness the work God is doing around the world.

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