“…Who am I that I should go…” [Exodus 2:11]
Are you in the dark about the direction God seems to be leading you? Too often I have heard people tell me that they could not do His will because they did not know the specifics. It is at this point where a battle of wills takes place. We want God to reveal His plan first. But my experience is that God does not work that way. God wants me to decide in advance to trust Him. He wants me to decide that His will is best for my life. Sometime I hesitate simply because I do not want to risk it; I might look like a fool. So He waits patiently for me to be willing to be made willing. The Israelites were in slavery, so God’ sent Moses, an unlikely wanted fugitive, to lead them to the Promised Land.
One reason God doesn’t give me the full picture [learned this from considering Job’s dilemma] is simply that I would be overwhelmed. I would say “The task appears impossible.” Or I would say “I do not have the skills or tools.”
God would say “Bingo. That’s the point! You are a very smart fellow! You cannot do this thing without Me.”
The danger with hesitation in obedience to God is that He may want us to be on a mission very much like Joseph. Here is a young man who did not know what God was doing during his time as a slave or during his long imprisonment. But when Joseph was reunited with his brothers in Egypt, he told them: “Do not fear … you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” [Genesis 50:19-20] Joseph’s brothers incited by jealousy sold him into slavery, but God used it to preserve the Jewish race.
So here you are at a cross-roads. Stop. Look. Listen. You will see and hear some “Who am I?” moments of your own where you’d reached the end of your rope and He came through for you.
I know a man who 45 years ago made the decision to build his career rather than listen to God calling him to work in His Kingdom. He told me that the lure of “getting ahead” was more important than being obedient to the call that God put on his life to go into ministry. “What if God wanted me do something that I hated or that would be outside of my ability to be successful accomplishing?” He described this as a paralyzing fear. He looks back on his life and sees missed divine opportunities on several occasions.
The more I got to know him, the more he revealed how he made a series of choices that took him down paths of rebellion. The consequences were felt emotionally, mentally, financially and physically. He related to me how this pig-headedness caused undue stress in not only his own life but those closest to him. As he moved further away from God he sought to expel any remnants that God had been part of his life.
He told me that all of his best efforts to build the career that he desired failed. “There is not one company I have worked for that is still in existence under original ownership or name” he claimed. “During this frenzy of trying to build my career I was twice fired; three different companies I worked for changed owners and the new owners laid me off; four times the companies downsized due to economic conditions with a subsequent layoff. During the 30 odd years of frustration, he told me that his stubbornness prevented him from turning from his rebellion. He never did obtain the career he sought after. He became in his mind a ‘victim’ with no sense of contentment or security. He emphasized that those early choices to go his own way … to walk away from God’s plan for him … put him and his family into needless hardships.
“But you know what? God does not give up on us! As Jesus told Peter after he boasted about what he would do for Jesus, ‘after you have turned, strengthen your brothers.’” This man is walking now where God is directing him.
Are there angels around us watching us work out our salvation? When we get it right and follow the Lord in faith do they rejoice with singing? Consider: Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
I am finding that God has made life quite simple. When Jesus said that even a little child can understand salvation, it is true. Life is made up of a series of choices. The choices come to us in pairs. The follower of Christ is not faced with multiple choice but a choice of ‘either’ ‘or.’ That is what makes it so simple. When I find myself in a situation I have the opportunity to put feet to my claims of trusting in the Lord. I will do one of two things. Either I can choose my prideful way or I will live by faith.
Choosing to live by faith means that I am going to choose to trust in, rely on and adhere to the Lord Jesus Christ. By faith I am going to rejoice in the fact that God has plans for me because He takes great delight in me. Choosing to go my own prideful way will cause me to view the circumstance from my perspective. I immediately start the process of trying to sort out how to maybe avoid this altogether; or how to escape; or start trying to find the resources I can use; or trying to find any resources that might work; or just try to blame someone and become the ‘victim.’
Making the choice to live in faith or to live outside faith is difficult at first. Choosing to trust God works like this. I find myself in a circumstance that seems to be unbearable. I make the choice to trust God. I choose to believe God that He is not planning to harm me. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” In the face of all that is surrounding me, I choose to acknowledge that God is going to do what He says and give me hope by building my faith. This could be through the loss of someone or the loss of my dreams or the loss of a job or the loss of my health or intense marital issues. It matter not what the situation turns out to be each of us. What matters is that I fix my eyes on Jesus. He promises me a future. He promises me He will quiet my troubled heart with His love…but I have to let go of my hearts’ desires.
The problem is as old as the human race. Even though God created us we still think that we know better. We think that God is not listening. We think that God does not care about me…that I am too insignificant or not good enough. These are all lies from the Accuser. We fail to see things from God’s perspective. We fail to lift our eyes and by faith hear God rejoicing with the angels when we grasp His ways.
Think about this quote from George MacDonald: “Those who think their affairs too insignificant for God’s regard, will justify themselves in lying crushed under their seeming ruin. Either we live in the heart of an eternal thought, or we are the product and sport of that which is lower than we.” Read that quote again. Are you being the product and sport of that which is lower than you are? Do you know who is lower than you are?