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Saying YES to God in the Hard Things

I don't know where you are reading this from today. Might be sitting at home by yourself, just you and your laptop. Might be tablet in one hand, coffee in the other. Perhaps, you’re ear-buds-in, reading this from the Starbucks line, grabbing five minutes of Jesus and Jo before rushing off to your next thing. Wherever you find yourself right now, I want to encourage you to stop for just a second, take a deep breath, and OUT LOUD exhale a giant, YES. Go ahead. YES!!

Feels good, doesn’t it? Now, if you’re in line at Starbucks, just tell that somewhat confused barista that you’ll have what SHE’s having. But YES! YES! I love YES!

But why is YES so fun to say, but so hard to live out sometimes? Why does NO seem to come so much easier to us? Why does life get hand-cuffed by all the NOs?

NO is easier for lots of reasons. We say no because we have been burned. We have been disappointed. We have been rejected. We say NO because we’ve all experienced pain, loss and failure. We doubt. All of these real life experiences tend to muffle our YES, and amplify our NO. “Not this time, not again, I can’t, I won’t, NO.”

But there can rise an audacity that refuses to take NO for an attitude. And here’s the thing about the Audacity: Audacity is the willingness to take bold risks. It’s daring, fearlessness. It’s courage and grit.

I’m not suggesting we don’t take no for an ANSWER. Nos are simply a part of life. We’ll hear it all the time. Opportunities will close. Relationships will end. Ministries will fail and career paths will be derailed.

But audacity in the face of life’s NOs is not only possible—it’s the life-giving path. I am suggesting we have the audacity to refuse to let NO to become our attitude.

Audacity says, “That last circumstance may have been a fail, but I am not a FAILURE.” Audacity rises up and dares to say YES again, in spite of the doubt. It is the grit that when a door closes, you refuse to become closed off. Instead, you dare to keep walking down the hallway--knocking on the next door… and the next that just might open.

Live long enough and bump up next to enough people and you WILL be rejected. It’s a foregone conclusion. But the hard stuff doesn’t have to hold us down forever. Yes, rejected. But not a REJECT. See the difference? You can make a daring YES to relationship AGAIN.

Loss is an unavoidable ingredient of the world we live in. It is an inevitable part of all our story. But you can take courage and experience loss without declaring yourself a loser. You may have had a set-back or two, but YOU are not SET-BACK.

Have you ever cried until there were no more tears? Your heart ever felt broken in tiny little pieces and you cried out, “Everything I hope for from the Lord is lost?” Me too. And Jeremiah from the scriptures makes three.

Jeremiah was a prophet who wrote the book Lamentations. The whole book literally describes his long lament to God. It’s a real tear-jerker. Probably why they called Jeremiah the “Weeping Prophet.” He had a few NOs along the way—more than a few dark nights of the soul.

I’ve had some long, dark nights staring at the ceiling of my bedroom too. Some nights only quiet tears trickling down my face. Other nights have been loud—wailing followed by rapid fire questions and serious prayers to God.

“Why, God? What am I doing wrong? Where are you? Why won’t you fix this?”

So many nights, I’ve begged for a break through. Yet the situation seemed hopeless, “everything I hope for from the Lord is lost.”

This was true for Jeremiah too. His grief ran deep. The people of Israel had rejected God. And Jeremiah’s was heart-broken, because he knew that the selfishness and sinfulness of the people would bring so much suffering to them. In Lamentations 2, this weeping prophet cried out until he had no more tears to cry. NOs were everywhere, but it seemed YESes were hard to find.

But Jeremiah refused to let the hard stuff hold him down forever. He didn’t let NO have the last word. In Lamentations 3, you hear a heart shift from lament to hope. He wrote: “Yes, I still dare to hope when I remember this. The faithful love of the lord never ends. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin a fresh each morning. I say to myself, “the lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him.!”

What brought on his YES in the midst of his no circumstances?

He remembered

•God’s love never ends

•His mercies are new on the daily

•And His faithfulness just keeps going. On and on.

In short, this circumstance is hard to manage. But there is MORE.

I know you have been burned. I know disappointment has shattered your heart. I understand rejection. And there is nothing quite as painful as loss. Being devastated is devastating.

But you can dare to say yes again because He is faithful. HE is your inheritance. HE hands out crowns of beauty in exchange for your ashes. It’s in the saying “Yes” to God in the hard things that we get to come face-to-face with His purpose, His grace, His faithfulness and His unfailing love.

Don’t settle for NO. I dare you. THERE IS MORE. More life ahead. More purposes to be chased. More promises to be fulfilled. THERE IS MORE. Start here. Start today. Start now with one audacious, no-holds-barred DARING YES!

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