I can’t even list all of the friends that I have lost just in the last 3-4 years because of my faith. Some of those losses still sadden me greatly. I’ve tried to reach out to some of them only to have the door shut in my face, only to be hurt even more than when the friendships had originally ended. Friends have gone behind my back after we’d been there for each other for months, years…I have scrolled by posts on various social media sites only to catch a glimpse of my name, and see those so-called friends spreading horrible rumors about me…because of my faith. I have been called things that I wouldn’t dare repeat here, rumors have been spread…I am a homophobe, a bigot, a holier than thou Christian, by some people that I have tried my best to love and stand by for as long as they would allow. I have had to give up relationships with family members, even fellow churchgoers, because of my faith. I have very recently been ridiculed by someone that I love dearly, someone that has been there for me through thick and thin for years. Someone that I would have sworn would never leave me left me. And of course, speaking of other types of losses, my father passed away in 2016. But really, he was gone before he passed on. I never had him as a proper father figure no matter how desperately I wanted it. I could look at these things in two ways, these losses…I could be bitter and say that God took these people away, that He has allowed me to experience this pain, this deep hurt, and that I am a Christian in spite of these things…or I could be happy and say that I am a stronger Christian because of these things. I could allow these bad experiences to ruin my relationship with God or I could use them as a great reminder that God is not allowing these things to happen in order to hurt me but to strengthen me.
What is my limit? What are my requirements? How much is He allowed to take?
I could easily draw a line in the sand, separating the less important things from the important things…God, You can take my old, beat up car, but not my brand new one. God, You can have this shabby old house but not that nice one I have my eyes on. God, You can take this, but not that. What is God allowed to take from me? How much is too much? Where do I draw my line?
Everything we have belongs to God. It came from God. Everything we have in this life is a gift, and God holds the right to take them back when He sees fit. Will we pitch a tantrum when He takes things or will we say “Thy will be done”? Will I accept His call even if it means that I am asked to leave my comfortable home for a shabby one in the mission field? Will I accept His call if He asks me to go so far outside of my comfort zone that I literally feel like puking? How much is too much? When do I tell God that He’s not worth it? Not worth all of the pain…the loss…the heartache…the trouble..the arguments…the debates…Ideally, the answer would be a loud NEVER. But I’m not always the ideal Christian.
Just this month, I’ve questioned. Ive asked God just how much He plans on taking away from me, just how many people….because I’m not sure how much more my heart can handle. How many people can I lose? God! I wanted to yell. I am losing everyone! But He quickly reminded me…I should be everyone to you. I should be everything to you.
“If Christ is not all to you, He is nothing.” – Spurgeon
If He was willing to give up His Son for me, can I not give up friends and family if that is what He requires? Who should I turn to, who should I defend…the One who died for me, or the ones who hate my Savior?
He gives, and He takes away. How much will I let Him take before giving up? I should give Him everything. My dreams. My home. My family. My friends. There should be no limit as to what He takes as long as I know this – He will never take Himself away from me. So like Job, I can withstand whatever life throws at me as long as He is by my side. He may give me more than I can handle, but He can handle it all, so I give it to Him.