As I mulled over a relationship between two people I knew that had ended, I thought of their decisions to say yes and no respectively to bring the relationship to an end. Everyday, we say yes and no, and every one of those responses bring their own results and consequences.
What if I had said no when my husband proposed? I cannot imagine life without him, but if I had said no, things would be drastically different. We would most likely not be here, and instead, probably be in separate countries. Still serving the Lord but to a lesser and different degree. It is not something I want to think about. And all it would have taken would be a simple no to have changed the course of our lives.
Two very short words that pack a lot of power in what they can do; change the course of history, forge a future and crush hope. Simple, short, unassuming words that we wield, sometimes, unknowingly inflicting hurt or creating hope just by saying them at a specific time to specific people. Words we never think about too much. Which is why we need to think about them; about the way we wield them to each other. Carelessly spoken without much thought, one short tiny word can pack all the power of a full upper cut to the jaw, flooring even the most hardened of souls. Carefully spoken, with the right amount of care and kindness, the same word could cause that same hardened soul to be disappointed but not crushed. Yes or no. Simple and yet, not. A yes to starting a war and the course of history changes with lives impacted. A no to God means a life with its purpose unfulfilled. A yes to pressing a button and a missile is launched.
I said yes to God and He sent me to Peru. Yes to God again and I lived through the hardest three years of my life in the Andes which I now see had prepared me for life here. What other foreigners struggle with here, I have lived through five times worse which gives me an advantage for living here. Yet, saying yes at that time to God was the hardest thing I had to do as I only wanted to leave. If I had said no to Him and left to go home when I thought I could not bear it anymore, I would not have been molded and stretched to the point I had been so I could mature. I would not be where I am today. Yet, it was not all negative. The three difficult years were followed by five good years on the coast of Peru.
Saying yes to God changed my life in ways I could never have imagined.
I never thought I would work with drug addicted street guys who were the most feared on the streets of Lima. Nor did I ever think they would respect me to the point of protecting me when I was out there with them, sometimes alone. I never thought God would use me to do miracles. I had told God before I left Canada for Peru that if all He wanted me to do was to wash toilets in Peru, that was okay. He had other plans, and for that I am immensely grateful.
Yet, during those times of saying yes to God, I also had to say no to many people. People who had good intentions, yet did not know what my calling was and who thought I should not be doing what I was doing. People close to me who said I should stop doing what I was doing because I was not Mother Theresa. People who said that if I wanted to serve God, I should work as a church secretary. People who did not understand that my calling is not a fad, nor is it a short term deal. Living by faith is a concept that very few people understand, nor do they want to try to understand. It is too difficult to accept, and many fear it. People have no idea what God has called me to, yet they try to pigeon hole me into something that they perceive I should do, for whatever motive. This is where saying no to people is needed. So that I can say yes to God.
Yes and no. Two simple, yet powerful words. We say them throughout the course of our day. We must ensure that we say the right word to the right person in order to always say yes to God.
After all, that is the one response that matters the most to the Person who matters the most.