I got to thinking about this this past weekend while I was driving to go visit some of my friends for the Super Bowl. One morning on my way to work about a year ago, up ahead in my lane there was a big chunk of metal. As soon as I saw it, I felt God impress on me that I should pull over and drag it out of the lane and put it out of traffic. What? That doesn’t make any sense! Why would I do something like that? I mean, it’s rush hour and there is traffic everywhere. And besides, why would God call me to do something like that? It’s not like picking up a hitchhiker or offering someone assistance when they’re broken down along side the road. It’s not even like giving ten bucks to the guy with the sign. So I argued with Him about it.
A mile or so later, when I was well on my way to work and far too much past the chunk of metal to go back for it, I felt God speak to my heart that it didn’t matter what He called me to. The important thing wasn’t what I was called to do, but that I obeyed when He called.
Something that most of us, myself included, are guilty of is putting God into neat little boxes. We have the shiny gold one for Sundays, the bright yellow one for when we’re feeling happy, the dark blue one for when we’re feeling sad, and the really thick one with two locks for when we’re up to something we know better than. We like our lives orderly, to be able to predict Him. We have our little plans that say “God will work this way in this situation.” and “God will use me in this way.” And we are content.
Throughout scripture, God works in ways in the opposite way of how people plan. It’s throughout the entire Bible. Israel being set free from Egypt by a guy who can’t speak very well? Taking out a city by marching around it and yelling? Or how about saving the human race by coming to earth as a baby, growing up, and then being murdered for a crime you didn’t commit, and then coming back to life on the third day? Time after time after time we are confronted with a God who does not act even in the slightest way how we think He should, or would, or even could. So, why should we be surprised when He wants to do something “crazy” or unexpected in our lives?
After all, in Isaiah 55:9, it says that “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” And in 1 Corinthians 2:9. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
As much as we claim to want to “be alive,” you would think that we would welcome this. And thirst for it. And be really, really psyched about it. After all, everyone is looking for the next wild, crazy thing. The guys who do those insane stunts on skateboards and motorcycles are looked upon with awe, they’re admired. We wish that we could do something crazy like that ourselves.
So, why do we cringe when we feel God calling us to do something that’s even the slightest bit out of our comfort zone or outside of what we think He should be doing? What, me go dig out the lady down the street’s driveway? That ain’t God. Work with the youth at church? Nope, you must mean the _other_ Chris Myers. You know, the Fox Sportscaster? Tell that guy over there about what Jesus has done in my life? Wow, must have been that burrito I had for lunch. I knew that that cheese tasted funny!
What about when God calls you to do something really crazy? Like stopping to pray with the people on the side of the road in “the bad part of town.” Or, quitting your job, without knowing what’s next? Or trusting Him with something really important to you, like marriage, or finances, or family? Or, tithing when that $50 is all you had to last you through the end of the month? Or, walking across the room to that person sitting by themself looking very alone and uncomfortable?
One thing that you’ll notice if you read through some of my other “thoughts,” is how faithful God has been. He has proven Himself trustworthy time and time again. It is that thread of faithfulness, or rather, the iron girder as it may be, that He recalls to our minds the next time He calls us to do something that might be outside of our comfort zone. By remembering His Faithfulness in the past, it makes it that much easier to trust Him in the present, and with our future. That’s not to say that it will remove all the struggle. But when we _know_ that He has called us to something, and we remember how faithful He has been in the past, instead of panicing and freaking out, we can get excited to see what He is going to do next.
Because, as it says in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” and in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” And if God knows the plans that He has for us, and they’re plans to give us a full, prosperous future in Him, doesn’t that make it just a little bit easier when He asks us to trust Him?
As the song that my mom used to sing to us when we were younger went, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”