Is your anything really ANYTHING?

Last week I sat in a church sanctuary in Langley, Kentucky listening to a powerful devotion by my friend, Lauren Alexander. We had traveled there as a part of a mission team, not knowing exactly what our work would be for the week. Lauren reminded us that God will take us places to circumcise our hearts, to challenge us and change us, if we are willing to go through the process. If we are willing to allow Him to cut away those things that need to go. If we are willing to say “do whatever it takes, Lord… anything for You.”

Sitting in that soft chair, in a beautiful sanctuary, listening to the challenging words of my friend the prayer came easy… anything for You, Jesus! Anything… do what it takes!

Hours later, as we worked together to clean up the home of a delightful soul named Joyce… a woman who had lost much in this world and so began to cling to things that she could count on to stay… that same prayer rang differently in our minds...

Digging through trash several feet thick was a daunting task. It was overwhelming. Cobwebs hung as low as our heads, and the floor was caked in a layer of unmentionable filth. As our hands worked, we maintained a constant conversation with Joyce… keeping voices chipper and upbeat when everything inside of us wondered what in the world we had gotten ourselves into.

Our "anything" looked much different than we thought it would as the church van lumbered through Kentucky the day before. The gardening tools we had brought to do landscaping and clean up outside, became scraping and digging tools in the living room of a one who claimed to be a "collector, not a hoarder". Our new toilet brush was used to twirl hundreds of feet of cobwebs from the ceiling. Scentsy spray on the back of our gloved hands our only solace from the smell.

And as we reached for one of many extension cords, entangled and entwined in filth, Lauren and I both declared in barely audible voices... “anything for You, Jesus… anything for you.”

And so we worked. Reminding ourselves along the way that it was for Him. Singing out praise songs when the going got tough and the enemy chided us that it was too hard, or too much, or too little, too late.

And God did great things. He showed us His glory in the home of a jovial woman who had a penchant for fibbing about her age and telling stories of long ago. He revealed His heart for the lonely, that He would fashion a team of women to come into Joyce’s life, at just a time such as this. He revealed to me so much about the sin-filled life, and how only He can clean it up.

He taught me a lot about the meaning of anything.

Because in a sterile church on a Sunday morning after a rousing sermon or a moving praise song… “anything” comes easy.

But what happens when you are down in the trenches, and the going gets tough?

What happens when the people at work are getting on your nerves and you want to lose your temper?

What happens when the diagnosis is bad and the doctor offer little hope?

What happens when your marriage is going through a tough time, and you feel like giving up?

What happens when He asks you to give until it really hurts?

What happens when a loved one is hurting?

Or the car breaks down?

Or the money isn’t enough?

Or people let you down?

Or you whine to God that you want to blog more but are too busy and never have the time and He asks you to set your alarm for early in the morning and you are so not a morning person…?

Is anything really anything?

What if God asked for your guilt and shame?

What if He aked you to trade your mourning for joy?

Or your dreams for His?

Are you really willing to give Him anything? To do anything?

Because all too often, my “anything” prayers really mean… “I’ll do almost anything for you God. I love you so, so, so, so much… and I really do trust you almost completely… so I will do anything for You Lord, as long as it’s not too hard, or doesn’t stretch me too far, or cost me too much… my almost anything for your everything

...my almost anything in exchange for His everything. When I put it like that, it doesn’t seem like a very fair trade, does it?

Lord… I believe! Help my unbelief! Help my "anything" prayers really be that… pleas for Your will in my life, whatever that looks like! Help us to mean it when we say we will go where you call us, and do what you have asked of us. Help us be a people that would exchange our dreams for yours! Let us hold on to nothing in this world so tightly that we wouldn’t relinquish it to you. Father show us the areas in our life that we continue to keep closed off to your power. Jesus, give us the courage to really give our anything for You…