Foolish Enough to Trust God

When looking back on the lives of men and women of God, the tendency is to say, “What wonderfully keen and intelligent wisdom they had, and how perfectly they understood all that God wanted!” But the keen and intelligent mind behind them was the mind of God, not human wisdom at all. We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the divine guidance of God being exhibited through childlike people who were “foolish” enough to trust God’s wisdom and His supernatural equipment. {Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest}

As I’ve been thinking about it, I am amazed that anyone is able to understand God. Why are we all not constantly misunderstanding Him?

Or are we?

The prophets wrote about Jesus’ birth, ministry, and death without having any idea what it would actually look like. Scholars debate and hypothesize over John’s revelation, trying to pinpoint what the timeline for the “end times” will be.

My two-year-old asks, “Why? Why? Why?

Our nature wants an explanation for everything in life. The explained can be controlled; mystery can be as unruly as that same two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum.

Search through scripture, and discover the instance after instance of God hiding His plan from His people. There was no spitefulness or malice in His actions, they just did not need to know. In the fullness of time His plans are revealed.

Even upon revelation, the wise may find His ways to be foolish; just as the paths of the wise are foolishness to Him. Solely through the interpretation of the Spirit can we attempt to understand the ways of God.

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{mis}understanding God

We practiced our routine for weeks. Over and over we kicked, turned, gestured and sang till we were perfectly in sync. Never had my brother, sister and I gotten along so well.

Over the summer, my sister and I had learned a song at summer camp. On our return home, we taught the song to our younger brother and made up a dance routine to it — much better than the choreographed number we’d done earlier for Wilson Phillip’s “Hold On.” Bored hours were filled with impromptu performances for family and friends. 

A Back-to-School Talent Show fanned the flame of theatrics that runs in our blood, and we knew exactly what we would perform for our audition piece. As the date approached, we perfected wardrobe, moves and words. There was not a doubt in our mind that we would breeze through the auditions and secure a place in the show.

Was it stage fright? Insecurity? Sibling rivalry? We’ll never know, but something turned our flawless dreams into a less-than-perfect reality. Timing was off, steps were missed and it was not our best showing. Disheartened, we walked off the stage and prepared to head home.

Before we left, I approached the music teacher, appealing to her humanity to offer us another chance to get it right.

Her words gave me the bolster I needed. No second chance was needed, we were already in! Rushing to my family, I shared the good news. She must have seen the potential despite the nervous flubs and flaws.

The next day I hung back as others eagerly scanned the list of acts to see if their name was on it. There was no urgency in my heart, no anxious wonder, I knew we’d made it.

But then…

Our names were not there.

Knowing a mistake had been made, I informed the music teacher of her oversight. With a confused glance, she asked me what I meant.

You said we were in.” I told her.

Still confused, she told me that although she had appreciated our efforts, we had not been picked to participate in the show. Now the confusion was mine, as I argued with her, relating our conversation from the previous day.

Oh, sweetie. I’m sorry. You misunderstood me. I meant that you had already had an opportunity to audition, and that everyone only got one chance.

Crestfallen, I walked away; unsure of what I’d actually heard the day before, and surprised at how wrongly I’d interpreted her words. I broke the bad news to my brother and sister: we would be watching the talent show that year, instead of performing.

::

As Josh and I prepared for our move to Washington, we anticipated all of the amazing things we could do, ministry-wise, for God. After over a decade of volunteering in churches, graduating from bible college, and becoming licensed ministers we knew that this was the moment we’d been dreaming and preparing for: vocational ministry.

Months became weeks, and weeks dwindled to days…and not much was panning out for us. The peace we felt about our move never budged, but we began to wonder what we would do once we arrived in Washington. The day after we packed up our U-Haul trailers and moved out of our apartment, we were bombarded with possibilities: people to meet with, churches to visit, ideas to consider.

Gingerly we stepped off the shore of caution, and waded into the waters of hope.

One by one things began to fizzle out, and our dreams with it.

Here is why I’ve been so quiet the last few weeks. I may have misunderstood God. Just like with the music teacher, I jumped to the conclusion I wanted to hear. It’s only been two weeks since our move, though, and I in no way want to limit what God has done and is doing in our life.

He without a doubt told us to move to Washington. I’m just not sure that He said we would immediately see our dream of working at a church realized. That may have been our assumption, rather than His revelation.

So, we’ve been quietly praying, watching, reading, worshiping, talking and seeking.

Today, while visiting a local church, the pastor gave a word from Luke 24:

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While  they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the mend said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” {Luke 24:1-7}

The pastor explained that God showed him through this verse that there were people who were looking at thing in their life {relationships, situations, dreams, ministries, etc} as dead, and that they need to be reminded of God’s Words to them, and His ability to resurrect the dead.

Facing trials, setbacks and doubt, it’s easy to forget the promises of God and the truth of His Word. To wonder if He’s paying attention, if He cares, if it’s worth it. In those moments, the only thing that can restore life to your soul is His Word. To be reminded that we were assured of meeting trials, but also that He would be there with us through them. That He never removes His eye from us. That He loves us.

Have you ever felt that you misunderstood God?

In those moments, what verses have brought restoration to your soul?

I’d appreciate you sharing them, because I know I could use some encouragement,
and I’m betting I’m not alone in that!

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The Fear of Not Enough

And that’s when she put her book down. And looked at me. And said it: “Life isn’t fair, Bill. We tell our children that it is, but it’s a terrible thing to do. It’s not only a lie, it’s a cruel lie. Life is not fair, and it never has been, and it’s never going to be.” {William Goldman, The Princess Bride}

My mom tries really hard to be fair with my siblings and me. If she does something for one, she tries to do the same for all. It’s really nice for me, because I get unexpected gifts or assistance. But you wanna know a secret?

{stop reading Mom}

I don’t really need her to do it. 

It wouldn’t upset me if my mom bought my sister a new purse and didn’t get me one. If she paid for my brother and his wife to attend a marriage retreat, I wouldn’t bemoan the fact that I wasn’t getting the same amount of money to go on my own retreat.

The reason behind this is simple.

{you can start reading again, Mom}

My mom is generous, and I know she loves us all. Her kind actions towards my sibling do not take away from the things she can {and will} do for me. What kind of person would I be if I looked at a gift to my sister as taking away something from me? They have no connection.

Why then, if I can be this clear-sighted with my mom, do I worry that the blessings and successes of my Christian brothers and sisters take away from what God can do with me? God’s gift to someone else does not mean that He is depleted and has nothing left for me. It’s not like when Isaac blessed Jacob instead of Esau, and Esau ended up with a crappy second blessing.

We’re all His children.

We all have our own story. 

There’s plenty of blessing {and work} to go around.

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