When Passion Clashes with Obedience

Written by Christine E., USA

Sometime in high school, I decided I had to do something about the political troubles in my country. I spent hours poring over the news, trying to get fully acquainted with the political complexities and their social consequences. I was going to be a politician. No, an investigative journalist! No, definitely a human rights lawyer. No matter how the dream morphed, I always saw myself fighting for justice and hope for the country I called home.

One day, however, I had a disturbing thought: What if God had other plans? What if, for example, He should call me to settle down in a suburb elsewhere and live a boring life, severed from the country I love? At the time I had no reason to suspect that this would happen, but for whatever reason, I found the thought irrationally frightening.

I wouldn’t do it! I told myself. I threw a tantrum and told God that if that’s what He wanted, He would have to drag me kicking and screaming the whole way to that dreamy little neighborhood.

I tried to get rid of that thought, but couldn’t ignore the fact that I was putting my love for my country before God. I was denying God’s calling so that I could do what I thought was the right thing.

It took many long, teary, angry nights for me to come to the point where I could grudgingly say, “Lord, I really, really don’t like this, but Your will be done—whatever it is—and give me the strength to follow.” I desperately hoped, however, that I would never have to make this choice between passion and obedience.

Fast forward to the present and guess what? My fears have indeed been realized. While I absolutely delight in my husband and look forward very much to the birth of our child, God has placed us in a sparsely populated town in another country for now, far from where I would have chosen to be.

But I have learned a few things since my high school days. By God’s grace, my dreams have matured. I’ve come to see that my love and passion are, after all, gifts from God. He is rightly jealous when I prioritize the gift over the giver, but He grows me when I surrender to Him.

In the meantime, I am learning to apply my gifts where I am at. For a while, it meant being involved in a student fellowship of my countrymen. Now, this takes the form of learning to participate in a church ministry that involves interacting and loving people who are quite different from me.

I would appreciate your prayers as I continue to struggle and grow. There are still days when I break down in tears because I can do nothing about the troubles that plague my homeland, but ultimately, I place my trust in God’s timing. He gave me my gifts and passions, and He will use them in His own way for plans more beautiful than I can ever imagine.

I take comfort in the lives of Abraham, Moses, and Christ. Abraham was promised a nation God would call His own, but lived in tents as a foreigner until the day he died (Hebrews 11:9-10). In the case of the young and passionate Moses who wanted to help the Israelites (to the extent that he even murdered an Egyptian), it took 40 years of chasing sheep before God called him from the burning bush (Acts 7:29-30). Even Christ did not start His ministry until after a time in the wilderness (Mark 1:12-15), and He did so at the ripe old age of 30—by which time most of us would hope to get our careers off the ground. Yet, through their submission, God wrote the wonderful story of salvation that culminated in Christ and which continues to play out in our lives.

If this small corner of the earth is where God wants me to be right now, so be it. In moments when I am not so proud as to think that I know better, I am content and honored to play a small role in God’s grand design.

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