I’ve spent a lot of time recently trying to figure God out. What are His plans for my life? What is He thinking as it relates to my situation? What in the world is He trying to teach me now???
I’m reading Madeleine L’Engle’s book, Penguins and Golden Calves, and what she writes reflects my thoughts on the reading I’ve been doing in the gospel of John. John emphasizes the fact that Jesus was thoroughly misunderstood by people. They all had their agendas and tried to figure out how His ministry might help them achieve their own desires or do the things they thought the Messiah should do. In fact, the only ones who had the right idea were the religious leaders. They feared He’d replace them or make them irrelevant. They were correct! If only they’d become His followers, their lives would’ve radically changed for the better.
But back to my point… Even Jesus’ closest followers misunderstood Him and tried to get their own way, expecting to become rich and famous (in this world or the next) through their relationship with Him. He tried to share Himself with them, but they were so busy trying to figure out how His words affected them that they missed the point entirely!
How often do I do that very thing? God reveals a little of Himself to me, wanting me to know Him more intimately, and all I can think about is how that information might impact my future. But maybe He just wants me to know His heart, His desires, and to answer my recent prayer, “Oh, for grace to trust Him more!” What if this isn’t about ME at all, but about God’s desire for me to know Him?
I write all this because of the emotional roller coaster I’ve been on for the last few months. God has been changing me, making radical shifts in my heart and mind. As many of you have noticed, my physical body has begun to reflect those inner changes. I’ve lost over 50 pounds and have made tremendous changes to my eating habits. I’ve allowed God to be my Comforter (rather than food), my Protector (rather than my excess weight), and my Provider (rather than trying to provide for myself). All these things were “head knowledge” before, but now my HEART knows. I couldn’t hide the change if I wanted to.
So then the obvious question is WHY? Why now? What is this transformation for? Obviously God must have something BIG for me next! How exciting!
I’ve taken my closest friends and family on an emotional roller coaster with me, trying to “interpret the signs.” I’ve been all over the map, thinking one day that I’m to become a career missionary to a third world country, the next that I’m to remain right here in Nashville, and every other option in between (at least it’s felt that way). Which has left my head spinning – especially with the news that my job at my beloved church is ending with a lay off of 25% of the staff. WHAT????
As I continue my walk with God, I see a choice before me. I can continue spinning in circles in an attempt to figure it all out, OR I can simply thank God for revealing a little more of HImself to me and drawing me deeper into intimacy with Him. To know the heart of God and serve Him is my greatest desire. What else is there? And to know His heart is to trust Him and to believe that even in the most uncertain times, He is the solid rock of certainty.
I plan to spend the next few weeks praying specifically for what God has laid on my heart – which at this time is that He will miraculously take care of our church’s $12M building debt. That debt has led to the lay offs and many other challenges. It is a dark cloud over our heads. I believe God will do it. I’m not going to try to figure out what that answered prayer might mean for me. I’m just going to listen to the heart beat of my Savior and pray as He’s led me to pray. I’m going to ask Him to reveal to me more of His heart regarding the debt we’ve incurred and how He feels about it. I’m going to try to get to know God more through this challenge and leave the results up to Him.
Do you think you ever misunderstand what God is doing in your life? Maybe if we all followed Him obediently (instead of trying to figure out WHY He’s asking that of us), we’d truly be able to call ourselves the FRIENDS of God. What do you think?