When Obedience Hurts

I came across a movie on YouTube titled ‘The Train’, based on the life of one of Nigeria’s prolific Christian movie makers, Mike Abayomi Bamiloye. Although it’s a Yoruba movie and considering I’m the fakest Yoruba girl ever, I still enjoyed every bit of this true-life story (thank God for subtitles, the Yoruba they spoke in this movie is completely out of my league 😄)

The part of the story that caught my attention is the reason for this post. Mike had secured admissions to two schools and excitedly chose the best one. When he arrived, he was told that not many people were accepted by the school, so he was one of the lucky ones. He got to his room, sat on the bed and began to thank God for blessing him with the opportunity to be accepted by two schools and allowing him to option of choosing the ‘better one’. He kept repeating “the better option” over and over again until his smile turned into a frown and soon enough he was in tears. He knew God was speaking to him and he didn’t like what God was saying: God didn’t want him in that school.

I recognised the pain in his eyes as he packed his bags in obedience and made his way to the other school which in my opinion was the worse school ever; they didn’t even have classrooms.

Watching those scenes play out on my TV screen took me back to a point in my life when I had a similar life-changing choice to make. I was in love with someone and everything was perfect: it was my “better option”. But one morning, I woke up with a heavy pull in my heart and immediately I knew what it was: God didn’t want me in that relationship.

I cried. I cried. I cried. I couldn’t understand why. He was a Christian. He loved God. He loved me. So why?

I called my mum and told her everything, and she made a statement to me that went something like this: “Tosin, God has always led you, He has never failed you. I trust your decision if you know it’s Him leading you”. I knew it was it Him. So I packed the bags of my heart and left the relationship behind.

When Mike arrived at the terrible school, the lecturer asked him where he had come from and he mentioned the name of the other school. The lecturer and everyone in the class thought he was crazy and laughed at him. Why would anyone leave that school to come here? So the lecturer asked him why he left and the conversation went like this:

“He didn’t want me there”

“Who?” asked the lecturer

“….my Father”, Mike answered, with tears in his eyes.

My Father!

Those were my words too: MY FATHER.

That was how I answered anyone who wanted to know why I had walked away from what was the only perfect thing in my life at that moment. And of course, they didn’t understand. I remember a close friend of mine saying that her God would never do that to anyone, so I must have been mistaken. Why would God want you to be hurt so badly? But there I was, holding on to the confidence that I had heard God even though I was hurting: my heart was broken and bleeding out.

Mike was involved in his ‘Drama Ministry’ and got to a point when he felt the Lord leading him to leave his teaching job and focus completely on the ministry. There were many people at that time who didn’t believe that ‘drama’ could be a tool for evangelism, so they mocked him and laughed at him. When he told his older sister (who had taken care of him all his life) that he had quit his job, she was so furious and couldn’t understand why he would make such a foolish decision. Their conversation went something like this (I am paraphrasing):

Sister: You will go back to your teaching job immediately!

Mike: I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do that . . .

Sister: As long as I am your sister, you will do exactly what I tell you

Mike: As long as He is my God, I will do everything He tells me to do.

As I remember that scene, I can only think about Abraham. It’s funny how the Bible does not mention Sarah in the story when God asked Abraham to go sacrifice Isaac. Did she know about it? If she did, what was her response? How about Isaac? Did he think his father was crazy? Did their relationship survive that episode? What about the servants who had followed them? Did they realise what their master was about to do? Would they have stopped him? What about Abraham? How did he REALLY FEEL about sacrificing his son? Did it hurt as much as it did for me when I realised I had to give up something I loved?

I remember asking God why it had to be so different for me. I told Him that Abraham got Isaac back, but I had nothing. It’s funny how I can look back and see that I was wrong.

There are times in our lives when obedience hurts like hell. Think about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane: the man cried so hard that his sweat pores began to bleed; that must have been some pain. He begged the Father to find another way, but his desire to obey was stronger than his desire to quit, so he took the hard, painful way.

After walking a little farther away from them, Jesus fell to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, do not give me this cup of suffering. But do what you want, not what I want.”

Matthew 26:39

Did Mike ever find out why God didn’t want him in the first school? I have no clue, but in the school where God sent him, he found his purpose and his life was never the same. Today, Mike Bamiloye is one of the most celebrated Christain ministers, and his drama now turned movie ministry has led so many to Christ and still does, even by this movie ‘The Train’.

Did I find out why God didn’t want me in that relationship? I didn’t. There was nothing was wrong with the man; God just had a different path for me, and though it might have been painful at the junction of that decision, I can see where I am today, and I know that I am right where I am supposed to be.

Through Jesus’ painful sacrificial obedience, humanity was snatched from the clutches of death and hell, and we gained salvation and a chance of eternal life. Our obedience will not always be a walk in the park, many will come with deep scars like the ones on Jesus’ hands, but our Father will heal every pain and restore even what we never knew we lost.

18 thoughts on “When Obedience Hurts

  1. It is hard to give up things we love; but God asks us to do just that. When we ask Him to give us the desires of our hearts, we are not asking Him to give us what we want, but that He PUT those desires in our hearts, so that we know what they are. When we obediently follow Him, we must give up those things we have come to covet in our flesh.
    While you referred to Abraham and his sacrifice of Isaac, your point leads me to Abraham and Hagar. In Galatians 4, God gives us the example:
    21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
    God never wishes us to be in bondage to the flesh, and that is exactly what Hagar and her son were. I am sure Abraham loved, if not Hagar, at least his firstborn son. And God told him to give them up, let them go. Abraham’s heart must have torn. But he obeyed.
    What a significant testimony to your obedience and God’s blessing, that you obeyed, even though it hurt so much. When we learn such hard lessons, we tend to remember, and to do better next time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gosh, it’s so true. And I remember while I was writing that I took out the word ‘only’ from son when talking about the relationship between Abraham and Isaac. The Holy Spirit reminded me that Isaac wasn’t his only son. Now you have made it even clearer to me, how God wants me to know the depth of sacrifice Abraham made in obedience. It must have been a lot for him to handle. But God strengthens those who are willing to walk in obedience to Him irrespective of how they feel. Thank you for sharing this with me, Kathy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But you were correct: Genesis 22.2, “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”
        That’s God’s perspective; I don’t really get it (and neither do the muslims, for that matter), but God said Isaac was Abraham’s only son.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The hardest thing recently where I have obeyed was leaving a Church I served at for 3 years. GOD showed me several things that the Church was getting into: false teaching being the most important. The evidence started to add up. But then I had to go and explain to people who wanted to know why I was leaving. It became an opportunity for me to explain what a false GOSPEL looks like. I know now that not only did GOD have a better place for me where I could grow in my faith, but in it I also learned to defend my faith…….I had never had to do that before! It was so hard to say goodbye, but I did obey and I feel now I am right where I should be. And here is the treasure in all of it…….a few people from the previous Church, after several months, showed up to the Church were I go. GOD opened their eyes also, each in their own time. Like you said: obedience is the hardest thing, but it is the right thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. It really must have been hard, and I have realised that it becomes even harder when we focus on the response of others. Thank God for giving you the grace to stay obedient to Him. Your soul is more important that the reservations of others.

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  3. Tosin, This was very good! I identify. The Lord has closed many doors for me that he didn’t want open in my life and he opened many doors that other people thought were crazy or a waste of time. He has asked me to do some hard things that got me rejected by others who didn’t understand. But I had to obey the Lord, too, and I still have to obey him and go wherever he sends me and do and say whatever he wants me to do and say, even if it gets me hated and rejected in return. Thank you for sharing this. Love you! ❤

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  4. Looks like a powerful movie. I watched about 30 minutes and have saved it to watch later.
    Those are powerfully hard times when God asks us to do something that to us seems to tear our hearts out. Yet it is when we lay down ourselves that others are most affected, just as we were with what Christ did for us.
    Years back when I had to make a decision like that, I was stunned that the Lord had those around me in silence and awe… telling me they knew God must be real for me to be willing to tear my own heart out for Him. That was their words. Those words stunned me, and to see them actually consider God, and the value, the importance of obedience, even at the cost of sacrifice.
    I pray you are doing safe and well, Tosin. I think of you often and pray for you! I wonder if you know just how much. 🙂
    I praise God for looking out for you. I think of all of the posts and conversations about you, your hubby, and your precious family. Your sacrifice allowed God to bring all that joy! ❤
    Me and God love you, Sister!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My very first encourager on WP 🥰🤗🤗, I wish I can give you a hug right now. Thank you for remembering me and praying for me. I’m a better person because the Lord has surrounded me with such an amazing community that genuinely intercedes, and you, Gail are one of them.

      It’s so strengthening when those around you trust you to walk in obedience to the Lord’s instructions, even when it doesn’t seem like their cup of tea. This morning at devotion with the kids we learnt about Jonah. I asked if it was possible to run away from God and my little boy said he could because he has super fast speed 🤣🤣🤣🤣 my daughter and I had a good laugh.
      Obedience is all He desires, and when we know we can’t run, it’s only best to obey.

      I hope you enjoy the movie, its long but rewarding.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh how precious that little boy’s heart! I can just see how He made God smile. 🙂
        How precious you are to me as well, Tosin! I treasure your friendship, especially the sweet fellowship God gives in a mutual love for our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ. The value of obedience is immeasurable!
        I pray for you dear friend. I’m praising God for getting me through a very hard week last week, and the procedures I had on Friday hoping to fix my problems, and the challenges that stemmed from having the procedures. Me and God thought of you, dearest Tosin!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. How are you feeling now Gail? I’m just seeing this. I pray with you, for the grace of the Lord to carry you through this season as He has done so well through your life. I pray for comfort from pain and grace to bare. 🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗 I’m hugging you

          Liked by 1 person

          1. By God’s grace, I am doing better than I was a few weeks ago. I’ll take it and praise God! Today my brother had his second surgery, and God answered so many prayers! Thank you for your prayers! That are so invaluable! ❤
            Me and God are sharing hugs with you too, Tosin! ❤ ❤ ❤

            Liked by 1 person

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