Should I stay or should I go? Reconsidered
When we start to feel the itch for greener pastures, sometimes the best course of action is to stay right where we are, especially if discontentment is the loudest voice speaking into the decision. The notion of greener pastures is often a ruse of the enemy to keep us distracted from God’s plans sitting right under our very noses. You see, if he can get us thinking that life would be better, that our troubles would be left behind, or that we ourselves would be different people if only we were someplace besides here, he can stall us from fulfilling God’s purposes in our lives. And he can rob us of the blessings of peace and contentment. Sometimes we just need to commit to staying put.
But before you start singing the I told You So song to your spouse who has been talking about an urge to do something different, I must offer a word of caution. Because sometimes God’s answer to this nagging question is actually go. Not what you wanted to hear, right?
In the opening chapters of one of the most challenging books you’ll ever read, KP Yohannan describes the call of God on the hearts of young pastors to give it all up for the sake of reaching the lost in India1. “They were not saying, ‘I am willing to go,’ but rather, ‘I am going.’” He goes on to describe the intense persecution these pastors face: death threats, beatings, stonings, and occasional killings, all because the enemy doesn’t want Christians to really follow the Lord. He wants us to be satisfied being fans rather than followers (as my pastor likes to say). Those poor people. I’m too busy to help personally, but I’ll send five bucks. Jesus is so cool.
When he finally submitted himself to go onto the mission field, KP knew that he could do nothing without the Lord by his side. “’Lord God,’ I gasped in surrender to His presence and will, ‘I’ll give myself to speak for You – but help me to know that You’re with me.’”
Jesus calls each of us to be His disciples with a simple yet terrifying invitation: Follow me (Matthew 4:19). And as much as we’d like to think that it’s as easy as clicking “Follow” on Jesus’ Facebook page or maybe His blog, following Christ requires faith and sacrifice. (While we’re on the subject of following, I’d certainly like each of you to click Follow on my blog! While you’re at it, consider sharing my posts on your own Facebook page.)
My friend Neville from Jamaica once said to me (read this in a Jamaican accent), “Daveyboy, when we follow Jesus, we have to be ready to pick up and leave at any time.” You see, sometimes the answer to the question Should I stay or should I go? is a resounding GO!
While we’re not all called to be missionaries in hostile nations like Brother KP, we are all called to follow Christ, to discover the good works He has planned for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). When the call comes, are you ready to go?
Questions for thought
Are you feeling unsettled where you are right now? If so, can you discern if it’s due to a simple materialistic discontentment, or is the Lord actually nudging you?
If the Lord is calling you to take a big step in following Him, what’s stopping you? Fear? Doubt? Comfort?
Would you rather stay put in the comforts of your own plans here, or are you willing to step out in faith and follow Christ right into the middle of His plans for you?
Father, give us the wisdom to know whether to stay or to go. Help us to distinguish your voice from the hundreds of other voices shouting at us, including our own. We want to be in the center of your will, Lord. If you are telling us to stay despite an itch to move on, may we commit to staying right where you have us. When it is time to pack up our tents and move on, fill us with the courage to follow you anywhere. Amen.