|Posted on October 18, 2019 at 1:40 PM|
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Why God Takes Something Away from Us to Give Us Something Better
Read: Luke 17:20-37
Focus verse: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” Luke 9:24 NIV
I was in the natural foods grocery store looking for gluten-free, allergy-friendly bread. As I neared the cooler case, a woman with her young son stood there while she read the nutrition label. With a disappointed twitch of the corner of her pursed lips, she put the package of muffins back in the case. The boy, obviously upset, grabbed her coat hem, crying, “No!” Tears welled up in his blue eyes. My heart broke for him.
As I approached them, I spoke soothingly to him, “I totally understand how upset you are about not being able to eat what you want. I have that same problem, too.” He and his mother didn’t seem encouraged at the moment, but my prayer is they will both recognize that I wanted to convey support by letting him know someone understood his plight. It’s painful when we sustain a loss, any form of loss.
Whenever we sustain a loss such as an ability to do something physically or our health, putting such pain in perspective can help us let go of what was and reach out for something good God has for us. Just as that little boy mourned the loss of eating whatever treat he wanted, I grieve another lifestyle change due to health. God took me from struggling with fibromyalgia to being able to do much of what people with the same condition would cringe at the thought. Now I face less exposure to the sunshine I enjoy when I garden, ride my bicycle and walk on the track at our local high school. Will I be able to enjoy remission with this disease? It is too early to tell, but I do ask God if He is taking something away from me to write more for Him. What good thing might He have in store for me?
I’ve witnessed many other Christians who had to give up something to follow God’s call, something better. A fantastic trumpet player hoping to go pro suddenly is hit with Belle’s palsy that diminishes his quality of sound due to a deformed mouth. A young man is hit with a devastating illness that takes away his ability to do what he and his father have enjoyed together since he was a toddler. What call does God have for him? A shining star on the rise in figure skating has a tragic accident that eliminates him from pro performance but is called to plant churches instead. If you asked him how he feels about it, he would tell you that his ego was way too big in skating. Instead, he is doing the better thing by serving God in ministry. It’s all about Him, not us.
As tough as it may be to swallow, it is all about God and not us. In Luke, Jesus shares wisdom with His disciples after the Pharisees tried to trick Him with a question, “Where is the Kingdom of God?” He speaks of a time when He will come in End Times. He tells of how no one should go get their worldly treasures because it won’t be good. The rapture will take one person and leave another behind. He infers that those who go back for their possessions will die, and the vultures will gather at the bodies of the dead. His primary focus is this: “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” (Luke 17:33 NIV) This statement also appears in Luke 9:23-27 but in a different context. Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."
"Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” Jesus knew what we could happen if we clutch the wrong thing to our hearts rather than Him.
Whatever it is we hang onto so tightly that pulls us the wrong direction, we must be willing to give up that we might follow Him daily. Are you clutching something to your heart that will take your life away from the life He has for you? I face that very same type of loss, as many other Christians have faced. Sure, whatever He takes away, I will miss, but I prayerfully ask Him to show me what He has ahead. He has something for us to do to build the Kingdom of God. Jesus gave up His earthly life that we might live. The least we can do is give up our lives and take up our crosses daily to serve Him. The rapture is coming. Let us give up what keeps us from living the life of service God has for us to draw others into the Kingdom. May you look forward to something better.
May God bless you!