It is always wonderful to hear the miraculous testimony of someone who has turned from a sinful life to accept God’s grace and salvation. However, I believe it is equally powerful to acknowledge the life of one who has consistently followed God when faced with life’s decisions. As I reflect over my life, I remember many times when the choice to be obedient resulted in joy. While I have made poor choices and needed to seek God’s forgiveness, my obedience to God in many important life decisions resulted in deep joy!
When I was 16, after wrestling against doubts and my own will, I determined to surrender my life to Christ completely. However, I still faced struggles through my college years. I had to choose between following my desire to change to a different major and staying with God’s plan to pursue my current music education degree. When contemplating a short-term mission trip, I had to choose between the wisdom of an older woman God placed in my life and my own decision. Later in life, when I had settled into my teaching career, I had to decide whether to stay in my job in Canada to gain some savings before leaving for seminary or to leave my job, my comfort, and my country to attend Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS). I chose to leave for school that year with no money, trusting that God would provide. He did, and He even led me to my future husband who would have graduated that year and left Kansas City.
While I had wanted to resign from my original job in Canada, anticipating a future with my fiancé, I followed God’s patient timing and made the choice to request an extension on the leave of absence. This choice enabled me to return to work after graduating from NTS while my husband waited for his residency so that he also could work.
Throughout my life’s journey, seeking God’s wisdom directed me to obediently accept His best choice for me.
The joy of obedience is a daily choice. I recall an instance on a Sunday when I didn’t have extra funds, but God spoke to me about paying for lunch for a particular student. That morning, a woman in church handed me cash stating she knew my husband and I were feeding extras and that God had told her to give me some money. When I told the student I would be paying for his meal, he shared how he had brought money for offering and lunch but that God had told him to put it all in the offering. How incredible for all three of us to experience the joy of obedience in God’s community! Obedience is the critical ingredient in my life that allows me to experience the abundance of God’s grace, mercy, wisdom, leading, presence, provision, and abiding joy!
Barbara Manswell is a missionary currently serving with her husband, Anthony, at Caribbean Nazarene College (CNC) in Trinidad. They have four children. She teaches music courses at CNC, and the couple has a growing marriage ministry.
Please note: This article was originally published in May 2021. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at that time but may have since changed.