Every relationship you’re in is going to cost you something.
If you’re a parent, you know it’s true – your relationship with your children is going to cost you some patience, some frustration, or some preference. That’s why we eat at Taco Bell – it’s not because the fare is delectable; it’s because that’s where our kids want to eat. So we “eat” the cost and we take them.
Marriage is going to cost you. It will cost you your desires, your forgiveness, and your pride almost on a daily basis.
That relationship with your co-worker is going to cost you. It will cost you your to-do list when they need someone to talk to for a few minutes. It will cost you your energy if they are difficult to engage with.
Even your relationships in the church will cost you. They will cost you your comfort as you move from soaking to serving. They will cost you your presuppositions as you engage in community with people who are different than you are. They will cost you your energy as you make the on-purpose choice to reach out to someone and lead in the conversation, asking question after question to try and get them to crack the door a little bit.
These are costly endeavors, and if you’re like me, it’s a battle many times to get passed that cost. It would be so much easier to have it your way. On your time. With your preferences. So much easier than embracing the self-sacrifice that comes with genuine relationships. But there is a phrase you can say to yourself that will help you embrace that cost, and it’s not as complicated as you might think.
Ready? Here we go…
“God will take care of me.”
No brainer, right? Of course God will take care of me. That’s what the Bible teaches. That’s what we teach our kids. It should go without saying, but at least in this case, it can’t. Trace the progression back with me to find why my heart (and maybe yours, too) is so resistant to this kind of self-sacrifice:
This relationship is going to make me give something of myself. Most of the time, I don’t feel like I have that “thing,” be it patience or energy or kindness or time, to spare. In fact, I feel like I have to guard what little of it I do have because if I lose some of that “thing,” small in amount though that loss will be, then what will happen? Nobody’s going to give me what I need so I have to guard what I have…
But God will take care of me.
That’s why I can give some time to the person on the other end of the phone even though it means I’m sacrificing my priorities – God will take care of me.
That’s why I can give some more patience to my kids even though I feel like I’ve run out and simply must rest – God will take care of me.
That’s why I can sit down and indeed rest without anxiety even though there are 50 other things I could be doing – God will take care of me.
Again and again I can say it to myself – God will take care of me.
And you want to know the best part of that phrase? We don’t have to wonder if it’s true. We know God will take care of us because God has taken care of us. When we find ourselves in the grip of despair facing the self-sacrificial nature of common relationships, we need only look to the cross of Jesus to know it’s true. God will take care of us now because He already has taken care of us then – He has taken care of us in a much greater way than we even knew we needed. For all of efforts at self-protection pale in comparison to the gravity of our greatest need. We once were in the clutches of an enemy far greater than the threat to our lifestyle, our time, our rest, or our energy. But Jesus snatched us from the jaws of sin and death.
He took care of us. And so He will continue to do so. Because He will take care of us, we can embrace the sacrifice that’s needed.