Updated: Dec 9, 2018
MONDAYS WITH KERRI
Recently I spoke at a women’s retreat just outside of Yosemite National Park in California. At lunch after the Saturday morning session, I inquired with the kitchen staff, asking if they happened to have a piece of chicken set aside that was not breaded and fried. It was quickly determined that my dietary restrictions had not been submitted, so they kindly and quickly found some baked chicken for me and assured me that my evening meal would be taken care of as well. When I arrived at dinner that evening, I was surprised to find that the staff had not only grilled a steak for me, they had a huge portion of gluten free pasta for me as well. I was filled with gratitude as I sat down to enjoy a few bites before the evening session.
Not wanting to feel full while speaking, I boxed up the majority of my meal for later and took it to the small refrigerator provided for quests. As I left the dining hall for the chapel, I noticed a huge bowl of fruit on the counter. Thinking an apple would make a nice snack for another time, I reached out and picked one up. As soon as I had lifted it out of the container, I sensed the Holy Spirit say, “Put it back, it’s not yours.” I was frustrated by such a ridiculous assertion. “I most certainly do have a right to this apple,” I fumed. “It’s sitting here for anyone to take. I can have it; it belongs to me just as much as it belongs to anyone else.” “Put it down, it’s not for you,” He said.
I wish I could tell you that I responded maturely to His voice, but not this time; a spirit of entitlement raged in me! I dropped the apple and stomped out of the dining hall in an internal tantrum befitting a five-year-old. I continued to silently argue with Him all the way to the chapel where I was arriving early to pray for the evening session. I walked into the meeting room and over to my seat. Then, I saw them. Sitting on my chair were two very large, gorgeous apples. They looked even more delicious than the one I had just walked away from. “Did you put these here?” I asked my friend who was leading worship. “Yes, I saw those earlier today and I thought you would enjoy them,” she said.
In that moment I felt like the last person on earth who should be sharing the Word of God that night. Once again, my flesh had raged in a way that reminded me how unworthy I am apart from Him. But, in His grace I knew that The One who created me didn’t want me to get stuck in shame and miss His message to me. “What do you want to show me Lord?” I prayed. “I know there is something you want me to see in this little illustration. The timing of this can’t be a coincidence!” So, in His grace, He helped me make sense of my little drama right there in that moment. “You didn’t need that other apple, I knew you already had two here Kerri; something as small as an apple can become a burden if you don’t need to carry it.”
This simple scenario still serves to remind me that even the things I consider blessings can become a burden if they get in the way of me seeing and desiring Him more. My loving Father knew the huge hill I had to climb to get back to my room that night. Although an apple is not a big deal to carry, a third - which I wouldn’t eat before leaving the next day was unnecessary. Why would I carry something I didn’t need? He was protecting me by not letting me have what I wanted; He wanted me to wait for His best. It also revealed my propensity to doubt His care and provision, just like Eve did. I felt cheated when He told me to put that apple down in the dining hall. But He knew I didn’t want to take the apple because I was hungry but because, deep inside, I believed if I didn’t take it then I might not have what I wanted later. Even though I knew I had plenty of food in my room, and a big plate of leftovers from dinner, I still subconsciously caved to the lie that The One who created me was withholding something good from me. Deceived, I believed like The Betrayed. Like Eve, I reached out to take the apple on my own.
As we have seen, deception always leads to fear and it manifests in numerous areas of our lives. It affects our relationship, finances, jobs, and our future.
How often have you thought, I better just settle for this now because this might be my last chance; what if God doesn’t provide for me later?
Our spiritual poverty causes us to live in a perpetual place of greed. Just as I went from gratitude over the steak and gluten free pasta to entitlement in just a few seconds, we lose sight of His love in the blink of an eye when fear comes into play.
This seemingly insignificant encounter with an apple is a powerful illustration of the countless times in our lives that we take something that we don’t really need only to watch it become a burden.
How much are you carrying that He didn’t intend for you to carry?
If in prayer, you are hearing a “No” from God, is it possible for you to re-frame this answer as His protection rather then His neglect or abandonment?
Often, fear comes in so fast we don’t even recognize it until after the fact. Our actions reveal we believe that we deserve the things we want, so we take them just in case God doesn’t love us enough to give them to us. We never stop to realize He might be protecting us by saying “No,” or that He might have a double portion for us if we wait. How often do we miss His best because we settle for something we take for ourselves? When we choose to take a good thing, we often miss His very best for us.
We face hundreds of choices, big and small, everyday of our lives. Our choices reveal whether we are remembering, and believing, that we are the Signet Ring on the hand of God or if we are living in deception. Our ability to choose is an extraordinary act of love; it is a gift from our Heavenly Father. He purchased us through the blood of His son and we entered covenant with Him at the point of Salvation. He had every right to create us without the ability to choose. Instead, The One who created us gave us free will.
God never forces us to love Him or make Him a priority in our lives. However, His Word makes it very clear that with every decision we make we are either choosing life or death. What decisions/control do you need to let go of? Write them down. Say a prayer to Abba Daddy, the ONE, the ONLY ONE who can truly bring peace and contentment into your situation. Leave it in His hands. Let it go. It’s HIS PROTECTION.
To read more on this topic order Kerri's book