I wrote a blog recently on the idea that Christians who claim that God loves us enough to die for us sometimes have a hard time believing that same God loves us enough to want to talk to us. And even if we theoretically and intellectually accept and understand the concept, it’s challenging to live into that idea in real life. But when we fail to recognize and pursue the idea, we miss out on the good stuff. The really good stuff.
Going through Pricilla Shirer’s Discerning the Voice of God Bible study, there was a thought on page 15 that smacked me upside the face with a humbling problem:
“I wonder how often we ask God for His opinion while knowing full well we plan to stick with our own plan. Yes, we follow Him, but only when and if His prescription will be comfortable to follow and will closely match our own desire.”
If you’re anything like me, and I’d argue like most of us, when we face a situation with uncertainty and and looking for feedback, we – consciously or subconsciously – turn to those around us who will tell us what we want to hear, even if we know that deep down inside it’s not the wisest course of action. (C’mon, you know that it’s true.) You’re tempted with something fun and exciting that’s not the “healthiest” of all decisions, and so you avoid your friends who might remind you of that truth and toss out the dilemma to those who would join in on the fun with you. You are unsure how to respond to someone at work, and you ask those who will take your side, no matter what without challenge or question. It’s natural. We like to be affirmed and don’t like to be told that we’re wrong.
But when we approach the Living God – the Creator and Master of the universe – with such an attitude, we miss out on what He might have for us, which is often a better plan than our own. It’s there that we relinquish the right to be in control and may not be able to plan or predict the outcome of a given situation because we might not agree with what we know God wants for our lives. The result of that response might not be our first choice. Or second. Or third. But it’s a best one, whether we like it or not.
I started to think about this several months ago, but it was more of a theoretical question to ponder, wondering what that would be like to know deep down inside that God has actually spoken to me in a way that I can’t deny but that I don’t want to hear. I mostly wish he’d talk to me more, so you’d think I’d jump on the opportunity to feel as if he has provided some clear, distinct guidance on a situation. Two situations, to be specific. The problem is that I don’t want to learn this lesson with these situations. I would prefer that we can come to an agreement on what I should do and their outcomes that doesn’t leave me having a conversation with God that includes one rather frustrated participant.
So what do I do when I find myself in this place? This annoying, frustrating place?
I can do one of two things. I can fight and kick and scream, throw an temper tantrum of sorts, and attempt to change, manipulate and convince God that there is probably a better outcome to the situation. Or, I can rest. I can surrender to the One who loves me unconditionally and perfectly, listen attentively and respond in a way that reflects trust and faith in him, allowing him to mold me in who he wants me to be. One frustratingly beautiful day at a time.