Trust and obey/ for there’s no other way/ to be happy in Jesus/ but to trust and obey.
That is according to an old hymn that plays in my car as I’m driving to work in the early hours of the morning. I ponder the phrase to trust and obey. When I committed to Jesus, committed fully to my Christian faith, that was something that I knew but did not think about. After all, it’s easy to say that you must trust and obey Jesus, but it is another to actually do it. There are consequences to these actions. Trust and obedience are linked. Trust is the internal action of the heart whereas obedience is the outward action that follows from the internal action. You need both to move forward. You need both to grow, to burst out of the seed and push through the dirt into the sunshine.
But growth is painful. It is a difficult process of movement, an arduous act of pushing through dirt. When you grow, you say goodbye. Goodbye to comfort, goodbye to stability, and goodbye to a materialistic but pleasant American dream of a nice house with a white fence. When you grow, you do not necessarily have fun. Growing does not necessarily mean adventure. It does not necessarily mean travel and “finding yourself” (though you do learn more about yourself!). Growing means hard work, the kind of work that begins at early morning and lasts until late in the evening. Growing means the growing realization of how small and insignificant you really are in the midst of a big world. Growing means realizing that you are not as cool as you think you are. Growing means that your flaws come out and you have to humble yourself and admit them. To trust and obey the simple command Follow Me means to say ‘no’ to myself, say ‘no’ to certain pleasures and dreams in order to obey that simple and clear command. Follow me, He says to me but I hesitate. As I think of all of my periods of growth, my painful and anxiety-filled years, the old hymn grates on me. Surely there is another way to be happy in Jesus? Because to trust and obey can be suffocating.
However, I realize as I signal to turn left, in order to trust and obey, I need to look at the Person I’m trusting and obeying. I see Him, lowly and humble, compassionate and kind, radically loving and radically bold; and He asks me gently to count the cost and follow Him. Are you willing to trust and obey Me in everything? Is this easy to be a Christian and follow Jesus? No, but is it worth it? All I know is that I have a deep internal cry that tells me that I am broken but Christ is whole. I’m learning to take baby steps in order to push through the dirt. Do you know how you get through dirt? Firstly you have to trust that there is something beyond the dirt. Then the action begins and you obey, even when the dirt falls on you and nearly suffocates you. Then you finally break through. You breathe in the fresh air. Then after the struggle of growth, that is when you can begin the process to bloom.