We all have fears.
Now, my fear may be different from yours and it may be different on Monday to Friday. Acknowledging that fear and running to God with that fear is what has transformed me and what I am seeing transform people as they think about that question of what's holding me back from my yes. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, New York Times bestselling author of "The 5 Love Languages" . Today, author and speaker Jennifer Hand will gently encourage us to move from fear to faith and put our yes on the table.
We'll find out what that means straight ahead. If you go to our website, FiveLoveLanguages.com, you'll find simple ways to strengthen relationships. And if you hear something today you want to hear again, you can find the podcast right there.
Again, FiveLoveLanguages.com. Gary, I want to ask you before we begin, if there was ever a time in your life when you had to do something scary, something that you believed God wanted you to do, but it kind of made you tremble a little bit. Anything come to mind? Yeah, when I got married, Chris. I remember when I had led our college ministry for 10 years, loved working with these college students, and our pastor asked me if I'd turn that over to someone else and start a single adult ministry in our church. He said, there's no church in town has a single adult ministry, and I think you're the person to do it. I said, well, let me pray about that. And I really prayed a year hoping God would say no, because I loved what I was doing, you know. But eventually I realized, you know, I think God's speaking to me through the pastor, so I agreed to do it. And really it was kind of a, you know, real challenge for me because it was not just young singles, it was also singles again, you know, who had gone through separation or divorce. So yeah, I struggled with that.
Kind of that Moses feel then, you know, I'm slow of speech, I don't know what I'm going to do, right? Right, absolutely. But you know, looking back on it, of course, I did it for 10 years. It was a great 10 years. And my second book actually grew out of that ministry. It was called Hope for the Separated. Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed. You know, the new title of that book is One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart.
But I probably would never have written that book if I hadn't spent that 10 years working with those who are, you know, single again and struggling with going through the pain of separation and divorce. Yes. Well, I want, as we listen to our guest today, and as you are driving around in the car doing whatever you do, listening to the podcast, I want you to have that question that we began the program with. What is the yes that you need to say to God today? Jennifer Hand is executive director of Coming Alive Ministries, founded in 2012. So 10 years ago, she travels nationally and internationally inviting people to come alive in Christ through conferences, retreats, written resources, counseling.
She has a master's degree in trauma counseling, and she's provided help for people around the world walking through a time of suffering with them. Our featured resource today is the new book, My Yes is on the Table, Moving from Fear to Faith. You can find out more about that at moodybooks.org.
That's moodybooks.org. Well, Jen, welcome to Building Relationships. Thank you. I'm so glad to be here. And might I add, I am 40 and single. So I guess I don't think I'm old yet.
I don't think. But I appreciate that you said yes to God in that moment and did that thing. I love it. Well, you know, I think sometimes single adults are overlooked in the church, really. It's a little better today than it was when I was doing that years ago. But yeah, and God has used single adults in a powerful way in the Bible and since then. So I'm glad you're with us today and glad you wrote this book. So from what I read about your life, it sounds like it's been exciting. Early on, you decided to become a career missionary.
How did you make that decision? And where did you serve? Well, I remember when I was eight years old and I first knew about Jesus' love for me. At that same time, I heard about, I was in a missions class at church for young kids. And I remember hearing about people around the world that didn't know Jesus. And to be honest, I'll never forget, we made a salt map of Ghana and they talked about the missionaries there.
Now, salt map is sort of like Plato. And I'm going to give you a true confession here, right here in the beginning. I don't know what was going on in me, but I took that map home and I ate it. And I say that God put a burning fire in my belly for missions even then. But it was really in that moment when I began to hear, I began to sense I want to be one of those people that says yes and goes and tells people who've never heard about Jesus about Him.
So that is what I wanted to do my whole life. And I also fell in love with the Bible, even at eight years old, my little precious moments Bible. And I remember making all the kids come to a playground Bible club and there was revival breaking out because they just wanted to go swing, you know? But it was, God began to call me even at that young age. And the moment I went on to college and as soon as I finished college, just knew that I was going to go somewhere somehow and tell people about Jesus. And my ultimate dream really was to have a missionary offering someday named after me.
Oh, yes. So where did you end up going? So I ended up serving in the country of Nepal. And when I left my family at my tiny airport in Chattanooga and my friends, they had no idea what was happening. There were so many people there.
I think they thought somebody was taking over the airport. But when I said goodbye to everyone and everything, I thought, for sure, I'm going to live and die in Nepal. And so I left everything and I went and I loved it. I loved the people. I loved the place. And I was thriving, living the life of two hours of power a day. And I know some people do not want to say yes to God because that is the very reason.
They're like, I don't want to live where Amazon Prime does not go. But this was just a dream to me and I thought I would live there forever. So you served in Nepal for a while and then you began to sense that God was asking you to pick up and move on. So how did you respond to the idea of moving on to another country and the ministry that you thought you'd be in Nepal for all those years? How long did you stay in Nepal before you sensed that? So it was actually about year one and it wasn't because I didn't love it there. It was just I sensed a stirring that surrender and my next yes was opening my hands and my plans and trusting God with His.
And so I stayed there two years total, which is much shorter than a lifetime of what I expected. And I just sensed God calling me to not one place and one people, but to a wide variety. But I didn't even know what that next yes step would be. And that's the thing about saying yes to God. It's a baby faith step or a big faith step at a time. And He knows the plans He has for us, but we don't often always know them because I think sometimes it's better that we don't because we'd be scared. So I just felt and sensed that I was supposed to leave Nepal and come back. And honestly, in the middle of that unknown, it was just a surrendered yes to trust that God would continue to lead, even if it was not where I expected. And often that's true, right? It is not where we expect or plan. But His promises are true and He is faithful in that.
Yeah. So you had only been there for two years and you're sensing God leading you to come back to this country? Yes, to come back to this country to start a ministry that would take me to any country around the world. And so I wasn't exactly sure what that would look like, but God opened the door for me to get a master's.
I already had one master's in counseling and I went back and got a specialized training in trauma counseling. And what I did not know is that God was preparing me. Part of my next yes steps was to use that trauma counseling to go literally around the world when there's a—some say natural disasters follow me, but really, I follow them. And when there is a disaster of some sort, whether it be natural or due to war or famine or uprising, to go and just offer hope and trauma care on the holy ground of suffering. So that became my yes. But at the time, I had no idea what I was laying down for. I just knew God said, it's time for you to surrender.
Yeah. Now, I would guess that coming back to this country and sensing God leading you to do what you just described, you must have had some sense of what will people think? The people that sent me off, what will they think if I'm coming back after two years out here? A hundred percent, yes. You read my mail, because if I were answering the question, I want to say yes to God, but I'm afraid of blank. And I encourage every listener to answer that question. And when I would answer it, I would say, my number one fear is rejection.
I love people. I wish I didn't love them so much, but I love people and I care about what—and that can be great when we're loving people well with the love of the Lord, but when we're asking people to approve when we're stepping out into faith, sometimes that was really scary to me because I'm like, I told these people I was going to live and die there. What would they think I'm a failure?
What will my supporters think? A hundred percent, that made me want to hold back my yes to God and not want to open my hands and surrender, because what would people think of the missionary that looks like a failure? Now, when you did come back, what did you find?
The opposite was true. People just surrounded me and just asked God with me, OK, she said yes to this next step. They just helped me in the waiting to know God was working and to surround me with encouragement and just to sit with me in the unknown.
And those supporters are still financially supporting, many of them what became Coming Alive Ministries today. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The New York Times best seller "The 5 Love Languages" . If you'd like to hear a past program or take an assessment of your love language, go to our website, FiveLoveLanguages.com. You'll find more simple ways to strengthen relationships at FiveLoveLanguages.com. The executive director of Coming Alive Ministries, Jen Hand, is joining us today and our featured resource is her book, My Yes is on the Table, Moving from Fear to Faith.
You can find out more about it at moodybooks.org. So Jen, tell us about the beginning of Coming Alive Ministries. You came back and you weren't quite sure where this was going to lead.
It sounds like that it sprang from some of the hard decisions that you had to make. So what was it like in those early days? So I, as I told you, I had from a young age that desire for missions and also the Bible Club thing. You know, everybody at the playground was getting saved so they could go swing because I wanted to teach for my precious moments Bible.
And I actually found as I was traveling telling people about what I had experienced overseas, I was traveling to all these churches that, I live in the Bible Belt, quote unquote, in the south here. And I was traveling to churches and I was seeing people who said they knew the living God, but they were living dead inside. And I just began to feel this real calling, passion spring up in me to call people to remember that we have a God who is alive and He's fully alive. And because of that, we can live alive in Christ. And that changes the way we live our lives. John 10 and Jesus said, I came to give you life and life abundantly. And that, of course, is not life with health, wealth and prosperity, because He also says, I came to, I will bring you peace in this world.
You will have troubles. But I began to sense the desire in me to, for me personally, to live so fully alive in Christ and dive so deep into His Word and live with Him, knowing that He's the one directing my life. Do that in such a way people want to know the God that's alive in me, but also encourage and inspire others that we have a God who is alive. Because I lived in Nepal where people were ringing bells to try to wake up their idols at 5 a.m., might I add.
And I just wanted to be like the guy next to me. I don't think they're going to wake up. Can we sleep a little later? You know? And so just that reminder that we have a God who is alive and working and that's how coming alive was formed. Now, one juncture you put on social media this question and I quote, I want to say yes to God, but I'm afraid of fill in the blank. And so hundreds of people responded to that. So what were some of the answers to being afraid to say yes to God? I was so amazed by the amount of response and many, many of them followed into the same categories. But they were, I'm afraid of rejection.
Well, that's my number one, as we've already said. So I'm afraid of hearing God wrong. I'm afraid of God's provision for my yes. I'm afraid of what my bank account will have to do. I'm afraid of what my family will say. I'm afraid of failure. I'm afraid of success. I'm afraid of change.
It could go on and on and on. And really, when you get down to the bottom of it as well, one of the threads that goes through all of it is I'm afraid. Can I trust in the goodness of God? And I think it was just so powerful for me to see that we all have fears. Now, my fear may be different from yours and it may be different on Monday to Friday, but acknowledging that fear and running to God with that fear is what has transformed me and what I am seeing transform people as they think about that question of what's holding me back from my yes.
Yeah. You know, when you look at the specific fears that each individual has, what does that say about us, about our own heart, you know, our own perspective? Well, I think in today's time, too, it is magnified a thousand times as well because fear is just so promoted in our world.
And so I think what it says about us is that we see our inadequacies and I see mine and my not enoughs. And I think of Moses. I mean, the Bible is full of people that were afraid. And I love that God put that in his word so that we know we're not alone.
Moses named all of his insufficiencies, but I can't speak and all the reasons why he shouldn't be the one saying yes to God. And I think that's why in Joshua one nine, I love that God said to Joshua, be strong and courageous. And then this is the part that I love for I am with you. And I think that is what in our society of loneliness and our society of isolation, especially now in 2022, in our society where there's so many unknowns, the key is that I am with you. And that helps me in my fears.
I don't know about you guys, but that just acknowledging them and knowing that I can run to the God who sees me, knows me and loves me and will say those words to me. Fear not, be strong and courageous for I am with you gives me courage to move from fear stops to faith steps, maybe even one tiny step at a time. You know, I think fear of the future is a common human phenomena. But maybe in our culture at this stage, it's pronounced because of all the things that are going on in the world and in our own culture. So I'm hearing you say that that fear, which is somewhat in all of us, is answered by the reality that you just described, that is Christ with us.
It is. And I think just of the Psalms where the Psalmist run with all of their heart, they pour out the good, the bad, the in between. And that is the key is running to God and saying, I'm afraid here and just digging deep into his promises and remembering that the promise maker is the promise keeper. And that even when we're waiting, sometimes he's working always behind the scenes, just like he was between Malachi and Matthew when they seem to be silent.
He was still working. And the more I just have to dive into his truth and the more we dive into his truth is the way that that doesn't change, even when our circumstances are changing and our world is full of things that I mean, one scroll through the Internet world right now is enough to make you never want to leave your house, you know? Yeah, that's correct.
Yeah. One of the things I heard you say is acknowledge your fear to God. Don't try to act like you're not afraid. If you are afraid, you express it to God. You're not going to shock him, right?
Because he already knows what your emotions are. Yes, I think there is so many examples of that, even in the Bible where God speaks to the fear. I mean, imagine, first of all, I think of Mary, for example. I cannot imagine being Mary and being told an angel coming and telling me, you're going to be the mother of the Son of God. I mean, there's not a good parenting book for that, right? And then talk about fear of rejection.
What will people think of me? And how can I tell them that this is born of the Holy Spirit? So I just think that we see Mary, yes, afraid, but then she says, I am your servant, let it be according to your word. And the thing that the enemy wants us to do is get stuck in our fear and it paralyzes us. But when we acknowledge those fear stops, God can give us the strength to propel us into faith steps.
But I think when we're not acknowledging them, then we can just easily stay stuck. Isn't part of what you're talking about, Jen, our concept, the reason we have a hard time saying yes to God or putting our yes on the table and I'll do anything is because our concept of God is deficient. He's too small. He's not going to take care of me. He's going to be silent.
He's not good enough. And so we need to really expand our view of who God is and how much he cares for us so that we trust him like you're talking about. Yes, I think the underlying theme of all of those fears is really, do I? Can I trust that God is good? And that Romans 8 is true where it says he's working all things for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose. And we have those mountaintop moments where it's really easy to believe that.
And then we have those valley moments. And I say one of the phrases that has helped me so much is faith is believing in the darkness, what God shows you in the light. And that's why it's important to be in his word and his truth and knowing more and more about the goodness and the character of God, because that doesn't change.
And that helps when things get very dark. I'm sure you guys, I know I have been through moments where I have to believe that the God who was with me in the light is still piercing the dark because he's good and he doesn't change. Yeah. The reality is we don't always understand everything that happens in our lives when we start walking in the direction we believe God is leading us, right?
Yes. And I think of Joshua 6 where the direction God led them at that time was he gave them the promise first, which was victory, which before he gave him the plan, which was walk around and don't talk or do anything, just walk. And I think there is often the way God works is mysterious and it is not the way we would have imagined. And there are questions that will remain unanswered here because there are things that I do not understand, you, we cannot understand.
But I am so excited when we get to heaven someday for, I don't know how it works, but maybe I believe it will all make sense and we will get to know what God was doing behind the scenes, even when we don't understand his plan, we can trust his heart. Yeah. Yeah. You mentioned Joshua, your book in a sense is a journey with Joshua in the Old Testament who helped the Israelites move from the wilderness to the promised land. And you see parallels with that journey and our journey today.
Yes. So each chapter of Joshua, each little part of their journey, actually, as I began to dig into the responses to the question, I want to say yes to God, but I'm afraid of insert whatever that fear was. I could see each of those fears in the different steps as Joshua and the people went into the promised land. And then once they got in the promised land, they began to possess the land and not just stay in one space, but possess the fullness of what God had designed for them. And I believe that Joshua and the people there had a lot of the same feelings we do now. Imagine standing there right on the edge and knowing you're about to go in and how you would feel as, okay, I want to believe this is the promised land, but I'm afraid of, will this work out?
Is this really going to be better than the bondage? You know, I'm used to the wilderness. I like the manna and we can do that too in our lives.
I can. And I'm just trusting that the journey God has gone before me is behind me and He has marked out for us is just being able to step in faith and follow into the promises He has. So Jen, what are some of the practical ways that will help an individual move from fear, which we've already established is pretty natural, pretty common among us, to faith, believing God in spite of our feelings of doubt?
I think the first one is acknowledging it, pouring out your heart before the Lord, and then asking God for His promises, digging into His Word. And then also a key piece, I think, is remembering what God has done in your past, because it is very easy to forget. And I think that is key is that the God of our yesterdays is working in our today and the God of our today has already gone into our tomorrow. So I go back and read prayer journals. I go back and look at what God has done in the past when I am in a situation that I'm afraid. And so I would encourage the listeners to think about the provision of God, the presence of God, the path of God in your past. And that's why in Joshua, they were told when they crossed the river, the Jordan River, to go back and get stones of remembrance because they knew they would forget. And I think it's so key because I can forget all the time.
Even if it's a situation I've already seen Him show up before, I can forget what He did. And so part of moving forward in faith is thinking about the faithfulness of God. And I think that helps continue to propel our faith steps when fear wants to stop us. And then just digging into His promises and reading about who God is. I love that we have a Word of God that is alive. I just love it just as much as I did when I was eight years old and had the Precious Moments Bible that is alive and active and it speaks to my life. So I hear you saying it's not only remembering what God has done for us in our personal lives in the past, but in the Scriptures, remembering what God did for Israel and folks in the New Testament, that God's faithfulness seen in the Scriptures also encourages us.
Yes. And to think that that same God that was working, that took a few stones in David's hand and took out a giant. The same God that had the people walk around walls six or seven and it fell on the seventh time. The same God who came for us and sent Jesus to rescue us is working in the thing that you're afraid of today. Thanks for joining us today for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . You can find out more about the love language concept and take a free assessment at our website, FiveLoveLanguages.com. Our featured resource today is Jennifer Hand's book, My Yes is on the Table, Moving from Fear to Faith.
You can find out more at moodybooks.org. Jen, while you were traveling in the Middle East, and those of us who have been there know that that's a special place to be, you were standing on Mount Nebo looking into the Promised Land. Why was this moment so important for you?
How did it impress you? I had already been in the Promised Land on the Israel side. And so this was a different trip and it was so important to me and so imperative because it was a trip full of fear because in that time I had gone to a neighboring country that we'll just not say many details of because of just protection of the people and the place, but part of living with My Yes on the Table was going there to work with victims that had experienced the war. It was a time where things were very heated in that area and planes were being shot down and people were coming to me and saying, You should not go.
If you go on this trip, you will die. But I knew that God had told me to put my yes before Him and that that meant go afraid. So I did not go full of faith. I was very nervous about this trip. I had fear, but faith propelled me.
My yes propelled me. And when I got to that country and was meeting with the first person I met, she was covered in all you could see was her eyes because of what they wear in that culture. And she looked at me and she said, I knew you were coming. A man named Jesus told me in a dream that a woman with blonde hair and blue eyes was coming to tell me who he was. And I remember thinking in that moment, what if I had let fear stop me? So on that same trip, I go to Mount Nebo and I'm looking out into the Promised Land, thinking about how I almost missed a chance to tell someone about the God who loved her, who saw her, who knew her, who came to rescue her. And I'm standing on Mount Nebo and I'm looking out where Moses would have looked out and I'm thinking, they didn't get to go in to the Promised Land. And I'm looking out over the land and I just felt in my spirit, I want my yes on the table to be in such a way that I never miss the Promised Land God has for me because of disobedience or fear. And I want to live with my yes. And it was just transformational. And I think of that moment every day when I wake up and I'm like, Lord, I want to give you my yes and I want to surrender and I know I'll be afraid.
So help me to go and do and follow you afraid. It's amazing how when you geographically go to places that we read about in the Bible and the memory of what took place there does have a positive impact on this, does it? Not just the one you experienced, but anytime. It just really makes it come alive because you see these are real places.
The whole time I was in Israel, listen, I like, you know how they say this may or may not have been where Jesus did whatever. And I'm like, well, I'm touching that grass because it's closer than Tennessee. Yeah.
Well, it's amazing the fact that the lady you met had had a dream saying that someone looking like you would come and tell her about Him. And that's that's happening quite often right around the world. It is. It is happening because Jesus came to rescue us from our sin. And He is. It's amazing when you sometimes when I get to travel over to those places, it feels like the book of Acts and just thinking that the same presence of God that was working there and then is still working today. And we can trust Him. And when we follow Him, we are in for the adventure of a lifetime, whether that's on a mundane Monday when the moms listening right now are washing dishes. And, you know, I think just really live in the hard holy of loving and shepherding and stewarding their family, or whether your yes is taking you to Mount Nebo, all and everything in between.
We are on the greatest adventure of watching God take our yes and see how He wants to live and move His glory through our story. Yeah. Now, you also had an experience on the back of an elephant that that taught you some spiritual lessons. Share that with us.
Yes. This is one that I will never forget. I'm telling you. So I when I was living overseas, had the opportunity to go to a jungle and ride on an elephant.
It was a vacation. And, you know, the brochures that it just made it sound so delightful. You're going to ride on an elephant. You're going to see other lions and tigers and bears and, you know, it's real exotic. So my friends and I, you climb up a ladder, you get in the back of this elephant. It's a big box on the back of an elephant.
And I'm in my little space on the box with my friends. And it was fun at first. And then hours into it, we're still just plotting. Elephants move slowly and we're plotting along.
And we had seen no lions or tigers or bears. We had always seen people who had paid to see to ride on their elephants. So about halfway through that ride, though, the guy down below yells up in Nepalese, which I speak, and he says to Pyli Daddy Moti Cha, which translates, you are very fat. And he's pointing at me. No, I was not sure to laugh or cry because I had just been told. And then he says, you're throwing off the weight of an elephant. And I just chose to laugh because what else do you do? So he tells me, I'm going to need you to get out of this box and get on the head of the elephant to redistribute things. Okay, this is not Dumbo.
There are no handles. But I did. I got out of the box. I got on the elephant's head. I'm holding on for dear life. The ears are swishing.
And we're moving slowly. The guide tells me what to do to direct the elephant. And all of a sudden the elephant sees its girlfriend.
I don't know. I'm not going to go National Geographic details on you. But I'm just going to say that this elephant started no longer moving slowly. And next thing you know, I'm in for a ride. I'm trying to hold on for dear life to the ears.
And again, I'm not going to go into all the details here. But next thing you know, I had slid out of the head right back into the box. So I end up back in the box. And in that moment, the Holy Spirit just was speaking to my heart. And I felt the Lord say to me, Jen, if you will get out of the box that you want to put yourself in that feels safe and same, and your fears will box you in. And if you will not put me in a box of what I can do in and through you and what I have planned for you, you will be in for the Ephesians 3.20 more than I could ask for adventure of a lifetime. And so I have that picture in my mind forevermore that I don't want to live in a box where I'm trying to box God in because He cannot be boxed in, or trying to stay in my box of safe and same and not say yes. Yeah, yeah, that's powerful. You know, I think there's a part of us, at least some people with personalities that they want to stay safe.
That's one of their big things. I just want to be safe. I don't want to take risk. But if we take what to us are risk, if God is leading us in it, there's not much risk in it if we're following God, right?
Right. And I think of, when I think of that word risk, when I was in Israel in Shiloh, which it talks about in Joshua 18, where they're at Shiloh where the tabernacle was. And it says, Joshua said to the people, how long will you put off going on to take possession of the land which the Lord has given you? And I think that's the key. The Lord had already given it to them, but He was just reminding them, go possess it. And I wrote my Bible beside that while I'm in Shiloh looking at where Hannah would have gone to pray and pour her heart out before the altar and where the presence of God dwelt in the Old Testament. And I just wrote, I want to believe, I want to risk, and I want to trust because you've already given this to me.
Yeah, yeah. What do you say to the person who wants to say yes to God, but is scared to hope in what He is asking them? You know, in their mind, they can't see that it could really happen. I think the first big key is a posture of surrender. And I would just encourage you, and this is where this journey began for me, is there was a day where God was asking me, will you surrender anything to me? And I'm telling the Lord all the things I've already surrendered. But I've already done this.
I'm single. I live on faith. You look at my bank account, Lord, can't you tell I've surrendered here? And the Lord was like, would you be willing to put your yes on the table before me and go anywhere, anytime, any place and do anything that I have for you? And so I wrote the word yes in big letters, and I put it on a table as an act of surrender, as a physical act of here's my yes. And I would encourage the person right now that feels that calling and you kind of know that stirring in your heart that God is calling you to something or calling you to let something go or calling you into a next step of surrender to actually do that as a prayer.
Write the word yes, write it in the sand, write it on your hand, put it on a table somewhere and offer that yes. And then as you do that, to pour out those prayers, those fears before the God who wants to meet with you and come alongside of you, just like you said to Joshua, be strong and courageous for I am with you. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The New York Times best seller "The 5 Love Languages" . Our featured resource today is the book My Yes is on the Table Moving from Fear to Faith. It's written by Jennifer Hand. You can find out more at moodybooks.org.
That's moodybooks.org. Jen, do you think that some of the fear that we have in saying yes to God is perhaps a struggle with how God hasn't done what we wanted him to do in the past? You know, maybe you prayed for something, God didn't do that.
And so, you know, you're questioning if I step out here and say yes to God. Do you think sometimes it's coming from past experience? Yes, I think it can be easy when we have prayed for a thing and not seen the outcome of that thing to begin to hear the enemy say to us, you can't trust that God that you're praying to.
And this happens to all of us. You know, I think of the father who is interacting with Jesus and Jesus offers to heal his son. And the father said, I believe, help my unbelief. And I think that is the posture where it can be very scary to want to believe when we have not seen the outcome of what we hoped for. And I would encourage a listener, first of all, with just such a tender heart for that, because we're human, we're human beings and it is hard to wrestle with the unseen and the things that don't make sense here on earth. And so I say with great compassion to you to wrestle through that and to say those words. Maybe I believe, but help my unbelief.
I want to believe here. And even just the fact that I love we can be real with God about the question of, I prayed for this thing and I haven't seen the answer. So honestly, God, I'm scared to pray for this thing and to hope in the outcome of God. And I think of Hannah doing that again, just her pouring out her heart in prayer. And then once she saw the answer of that prayer, she offered it back when she got the son she was praying for, she offered that prayer back to the Lord and offered him back to the Lord.
And I think that is the posture I want to have. But I also love that we have a God who already knows the feelings that are stirring inside of us and we can run to him with that. Yeah, I think if we understand that God answers our prayers in some similar way to the way a parent answers the request of children, we don't always give the child everything they ask for because we love them too much.
We know that what they're asking for is not going to be good for them at the moment. And I think sometimes that's why God does not say yes to everything we ask for, is that he loves us too much. I don't know, it's just I think that a lot of people struggle with that reality. But what you're saying is acknowledge it. And I like that, the verse you quoted about, Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. And then you take that step.
Yes. And I think on the other side of some of the prayers I prayed, I'm like, Lord, I am so glad you are the God of the universe and knew not to answer that the way I wanted you to. Now at the time, it did not feel good. I think of some of the, you know, seventh and eighth grade prayers that I prayed and maybe who I'd be married to right now. I prayed to be a doctor and I'm like, people are very glad. I mean, you should see my handshake when I try to, you know, do anything with precision. They do not want me being a brain surgeon here. You know, I'm glad God did not answer that prayer. Now you've seen positive changes happen when a person takes the challenge of living with their yes on the table.
Give us some of the examples of things you've seen. It's been so fun to watch people say yes. And even I had a launch team that for 12 weeks went through the chapters and I watched them take their shaky surrender of yes, here's what I'm afraid of.
And it has been amazing to watch as they surrender. Many of them have taken steps into new ministries, new callings. I think of my twin sister and her husband who years ago, since God calling them to play it well by her husband first. And then she later said yes.
At the time she said no, calling them to start a church in the town my husband grew up in. And now I'm a part of that church. We celebrate four years this weekend and watching as they said yes to God. Now people have come to know Jesus.
People who struggle with addictions have found freedom. People have found reconciliation in their families in that church. And their yes is a ripple effect of yes.
And that's what I love. When we say yes to God, it is not just about us. God's glory unfolds in our story, but it is a ripple effect. And people find when they see people saying yes, they find the courage for their own yeses.
And just last week, my sister's 90-year-old neighbor, Mr. Bob, got a copy of my book and he read it in a day and came and found me. And he said, I was reminded reading this book that even at 90 years old, it is not too late to say yes to God. And that brought me such joy because it's never too late and it is a constant opportunity we have to offer our surrender as we say yes. Yeah, yeah. As long as we are alive, God has something for us, right?
Yes. I'm so glad for that because it gives us a purpose. And I have learned that you can't compare, just like you can't compare love languages, right?
You can't compare your yes steps to other people's yes steps. Because what God has designed, I believe Psalms 139 where it says, you're fearfully and wonderfully made and He knows your days. And what He has designed for you is different than what He's designed for me. But we all get the opportunity to say yes to Him. And the thing I love is God does not need us.
He has taught me so much about this. When I was a missionary, I went in with, I'm going to save the world. I'm going to save the world.
I'm going to save Nepal. And I had a lot of missionary pride. And I remember one day face down in the dirt floor of a village where I had experienced everything from actually accidentally burning down their only outhouse in the town to not being able to effectively communicate in their language. And I remember saying to the Lord, you must be so disappointed in me. I came to serve you and to see these big things happen for you. And I turned to Psalm 63, which says, Oh God, you are my God. Earnestly I seek you in a dry and weary land where there is no water. And I sense the Lord say back to me, Jen, I do not need you, but I want you. And that is the key. He wants us and He allows us to say yes to Him.
And then He chooses to use us. And that is the adventure of a lifetime. Yeah.
Yeah. You know, your reference to the 90 year old man reminded me of a dear friend of mine years ago. He was a pastor, you know, God had called him to be a pastor and he was pastoring and then came down with several diseases that actually left him with very little capacity. He basically laid in the bed all day long.
He couldn't lift his arms or his legs. He could eat if somebody fed him the food, but he had a tremendous prayer ministry from that bed and me and many other people would channel to him things that we wanted him to pray for. And so I'm just affirming that the example affirms doesn't matter how old we are, as long as we're alive and have cognitive abilities, God wants to use those abilities in some way. And so having the sense of, yes, Lord, this is where I am and this is what you want me to do. It gives meaning to life as well as serving God's purposes.
It does. I think one of my best friends has cerebral palsy and can only use a few of her fingers on her hand and she is the prayer warrior, just like you said, and she has prayed me through many of my yes steps. And I think about just how God is using her. And you're right, we all are called by God and used by God and we get to see him as we say yes. Now, how do you deal with the yes on the table when you already have a lot of other yeses on the table? You know, you've said yes to God and you got all these things on the table. Maybe it's a married person, maybe it's a mother with family responsibilities, a father with those responsibilities, and there's aging parents you're trying to deal with. So it's kind of conflicting things, you know, different things that are taking our attention, all of which are yes, you know, God has put us in those places. How do we deal with that?
I think that's why this is not a one and done yes. It is a daily yes, because each season of our life comes with different things and your very best yes to God may be taking care of that aging parent. And as a result of that, having to say no to something else that you were doing, because sometimes our yes to God comes with no. And that can be very difficult. And so that's why I think it's a daily. I wake up and I don't say I do this perfectly, but I want to wake up daily and say, here's my yes today, Lord. And I would encourage, you know, the stay at home, I have such, that is a lot of work.
I watched my twin sister do that so well. And just all of the things that you do that maybe go unseen and that is your yes to God. And so I think it is yes goes through seasons. And like I said, I thought my yes was going to be, I'm going to be a missionary and live and die there until they have a missionary offering after me. And so I would encourage you to just, it's a daily surrender and that God will direct your path. He says, trust in the Lord with all your heart.
I will direct your path. And he will show you sometimes yes comes with no to a lot of things. And sometimes yes comes with saying yes to more than you think you can balance because God will equip you. And it's just leaning in and asking him for that guidance. And what is my yes today?
Yeah. Well, Jen, let me thank you for being with us today. I think many of our listeners identify with this topic and thank you for not only being with us today, but for taking time to write this book because I do believe that it will help people who are struggling with, you know, shall I take this step or shall I not?
You know, it's saying yes to God. So again, may God continue to give you wisdom in what he wants you to do. So keep up the good work and keep walking with him. Thank you.
What a delight to be with you guys today. Maybe today is the day that you will say yes to God and put that on the table. If you want to find out more about Jen Han's resource, you can go to moodybooks.org. The title again, My Yes is on the Table, Moving from Fear to Faith.
Go to moodybooks.org. And coming up next week, your questions about the love languages, marriage, dating and more. Don't miss the April edition of Dear Gary in One Week. And remember, you can find more simple ways to strengthen relationships at our website, fivelovelanguages.com. Now let me thank our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Todd. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
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