Something that I think about a lot has to do with God’s control and my effort. I wonder how hard I’m supposed to try and if I’m wasting my time when I’m trying my hardest. Sometimes I’m sure that I’m headed in the right direction and other times I think I walked off the edges of the painting.
[God’s] purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but a sure thing determined by his decision, flowing steadily from his initiative. -Romans 9:11
God has a purpose and it doesn’t depend on me. Yet, I still feel a sense of direction and I feel the responsibility to respond to it. I don’t shy away from extremes and I love the adventure of faith.
Sometimes I wonder if God tells us to do things just to test our faith, not to actually carry out what He asked us to do. Kind of like God telling Abraham to sacrifice his son.
God tested Abraham. -Genesis 22:1
He said, “Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I’ll point out to you.” -Genesis 22:2
The sense of direction Abraham had was crazy. But, it was clear.
I think people tend to hear this supernatural voice of direction and then put on their stubborn blinders. They position themselves to not see or hear anything that contradicts with what they know God told them to do. They mistake stubbornness for faith. They’re immovable and unbending. Even to God.
Abraham’s faith was fierce. He knew what he heard from God and he had every intention of carrying it out.
What if he thought that the only way he could please God was to not listen to anything that might contradict what he believed?
When he was questioned, his response was: ‘God will see to it…’
Abraham had an immovable faith in God, not in the certainty of himself or his understanding. He was movable. If your faith is in your own understanding, then it’s likely you’ll reject God when he tries to redirect you beyond your understanding.
God redirected Abraham when he was three days down a path, after he built an alter and tied his son to it. Who knows the sweat that Abraham bled. I can only imagine the exchanged looks between father and son or if Abraham looked Isaac in the eye at all. Abraham did not put his faith in his work, clearly from God, but in God Himself. Moveable and bendable, but still full of the faith that overthrew common sense.
And God saw to it.
Sometimes I feel like my life is a wild goose chase. I know when I hear from God. I know that I’m supposed to run to this corner, then travel to that corner. But, when nothing happens…I have to wonder. What is the point in all this? Is it just to see if I’ll do it?
Several years ago I read a book called ‘Hind’s Feet on High Places’. The main character was traveling a path that ‘The Shepherd’ led her down. He promised to give her purpose and lead her to her ‘heart’s desire’ which was a visible mountain top off in the distance. After a long and tiresome journey, she was about to enter another dark valley and couldn’t bare the thought of having to go through it again. She looked around to see how close she was to the mountain top and found it behind her. The dark valley in front of her seemed to be leading further away from her destination.
She cried out to ‘The Shepherd’ and asked Him if He was sending her on a wild goose chase. She wondered if He was telling her to go places just to see if she would go. He responded with a question that dug all the way to the intentions of her heart and the reasons for her obedience.
He asked, ‘What if I am?‘
It’s an interrogation of motivation.
We have no idea what God’s purposes are. We make decisions the best we can, but still question them. I have to come back to the verse I used earlier and take my stubborn blinders off so I can see to follow.
‘[God’s] purpose is not a hit or miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do…’
Is the journey of personal sacrifice for nothing? Would you follow even if you didn’t get anything in return?
I’m too far on this journey to turn back now, but I’m looking for the ‘ram caught by his thorns in the thicket.’
I don’t care if it’s all for nothing and that’s what keeps me resilient. I have no faith in my shape, but a crazy amount of faith in the one who shapes me at whim.