Why am I surprised and amazed when God does something I consider miraculous? I asked a friend that today. I told her that by this point I should be like Elijah or Daniel and just assume and expect that God is going to show out. But you know what I end up doing instead? Assuming and expecting to be disappointed. Assuming and expecting that I’ve asked too much.
This friend and I had a moment where a pretty massive roadblock was dropped in front of us. We both sat in our respective homes and reeled from shock, and each of us individually began questioning everything we knew, everything that prior to that moment we had been sure of.
I had several curious moments during this timeframe where it was almost like I was standing outside myself, reaching for that suitcase of worry to pick up and shoulder, but each time I tried to access the feelings I knew should be associated with this news, I just couldn’t quite get there. I laid in the bed that night and tossed and turned, telling God that I felt like a fool, that I didn’t have any answers, didn’t know what in the world to do. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep, but at some point while I laid there hurling thoughts and fears at His feet, He allowed me to drop off into sleep. He maybe got tired of me tossing my thought bombs.
The next morning I had a random thought when I first woke up, one that appeared to be the answer to an unrelated question. The problem was, this question would end up being moot if the big roadblock wasn’t cleared out of the way. I got on up and did my morning routine, but when I sat down in my chair to spend time with Jesus, I just couldn’t get my thoughts to settle. I guess I needed to hear from Him first. He sent me several verses that reminded me what a great big God we serve. Reminding me that He is the God of hope who fills us with all joy and peace in believing so that we will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 15:13).
It became clear as I moved through the morning that what I was being asked to do was trust Him. That the roadblock wasn’t a roadblock, it just looked like one. That if I truly trusted that He is a great big God, I would believe that He had it handled. Here’s the thing, though…I can say that all I want to, but He wants me to actually walk it out. And walking it out truly made me think “I’m going to make a fool of myself.” This makes no sense, I could almost hear that snarky voice hissing in my ear.
I had to tell my friend, who texted me first thing, where God had led me. She doesn’t know this (but will as soon as she reads this post) but I sat there with the screen blinking at me, debating on what I would say in response to her “what are we going to do” question. I knew what I felt like God had impressed upon me this morning, but putting it into words was hard. Actually saying that we were going to have to not worry about it and let God handle it was hard. Because then I was leaving myself open for a huuuuge risk.
Funny thing was, God had been impressing the same thing on her. Isn’t He incredible? No pats on the back, no applause, no recognition desired or earned, but the two of us took some faith steps that day. And it was hard. But I know, because God says so in His love letter to us, that He will honor that. Our faith is accredited as righteousness. Wow, double-wow, and holy cow!
I heard a message recently where the speaker said that the opposite of faith isn’t fear, it’s sight. It made me think and think hard about my concept and definition of faith. About how often I expect and demand that I be shown what’s coming, that I know ahead of time where my foot is going to land a mile down the road and every inch in between before I take the first step. I want to have all the steps and stages mapped out in my head. I want that with Christ, no differently than I want it with any endeavor or relationship I encounter. But that’s not faith.
It is the scariest proposition in the world for me to be more or less blindfolded and asked to walk on ahead. But that’s what we are called to do. We are called to walk by faith and trust that it is substance.
We are called to walk out each day in faith. Sometimes that looks like holding your tongue when you want to blast someone who is being rude to you. Sometimes it looks like trusting that the money in your account is going to last all month. Sometimes it looks like trusting the truth that the roadblock isn’t really a roadblock. Sometimes it looks like letting go of something you thought was yours. Sometimes it looks like trusting that God will steer you.
I have trouble with that. I think that’s been one of my hardest struggles. Trusting that God will lead me, and lead me in a way that I can actually understand. I assume and expect that the instructions will be vague and easily misunderstood. I assume and expect that I will be penalized for making the wrong choice. At the root of all of that, I think, is the lack of faith in the goodness of God.
Now here’s something I’ve dealt with before, and I didn’t really understand that there were layers to it. In the last year that I’ve existed, I’ve walked through several things that had the potential to make me question that God was good. When I lost my son-in-love I had many moments of “what am I supposed to do now,” “how am I supposed to explain this?” I remember saying to my pastor that somehow, in some way, this was the most loving thing God could do in this situation – the homegoing of someone I love dearly. And I truly believed that. That entire season has reinforced to me that I believe that God is good.
What I didn’t understand until recently is that not only is God good, He wants good for me. His desire is for good for me. His aim is for the highest possible good for me. See, I struggle with that.
Why do I assume that God will let me down when I know He has called me and my friend to a specific task for Him? Why do I immediately start questioning the validity of the call the minute something comes up to possibly hinder it? Why do I assume God is going to let me fail?
Why do I question when God gives me a task, then gives me another, and another and another, all of which must be completed in roughly the same time frame? I find it marvelously staggering that in giving the tasks, He has also given the grace and fortitude to trust Him with the outcomes. I had a task handed to me, one that didn’t come as a surprise in any way except the timing of it, and my first thought was “I can’t do it.” God thought otherwise, not that I could do it but that He would do it through me, and He made sure that I would see crystal clear that it was indeed Him who came through.
Others have expressed their concern on this task, and yet I am still in a place of trusting God. Is it gargantuan? Yep. Should I be scared? Probably. Is this a sign of my staggeringly huge faith? Nope. At the moment though, I simply have my eyes on Jesus. I am taking Him at His word. He gave this to me to do, and I’m going to trust Him.
Doubt has pulled up a chair, scooched in real close and is hissing slyly in my ear. Hateful thing. Doubt is telling me about all the things I haven’t thought about, all the reasons I should worry and stress. Doubt is telling me that I’m so far out of my comfort zone that I can’t even see the shoreline now, and I’m going to let people down. That’s my big bugaboo in this deal…that I’ll let people down.
But still my gaze is on my Savior. Doubt may be hissing but I don’t have to listen. Lest you think great and weighty thoughts on how strong of a Jesus follower I am, don’t be fooled. I’m as prone to chickening out as anyone, and probably a lot more so than most. I can’t explain this particular situation and the lack of worry and stress about it. I don’t have an answer except to say “Jesus.” I don’t have the strength within myself to take a step of faith. But so far I have stepped.
Romans 1:17 has a phrase that has aways struck me…”For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” If I take this step of faith, He will give me more faith to believe Him and take the next step.
It’s certainly a method of living that is contrary to everything our world tells us is smart. But it’s what He wants us to do. Am I going to mess it up? Oh yes, and in more ways than one. So will you. But, and what a wonderful knowledge this is, His mercy is new every morning. He has an unlimited supply of faith for us and will graciously dole it out so that we believe Him and trust Him for more and more and more, and then He gives us more faith, and more and more and more…
The opposite of faith is not fear, it is sight. If I can see it, it isn’t faith. But faith itself has substance, has weight, has value. It is a concrete, tangible thing. It’s just invisible. So lets slap on that blindfold, hold on to the hem of His garment, and keep trucking on. When He has given you the calling, He will provide the means. Walk by faith.