Following Jesus is hard.
And not just because He asks you to do things out of your comfort zone or because you have to give up going your way to go His.
It’s hard because you are seeking to follow someone you can’t see and frequently that can leave you wondering what in the world you’re supposed to be doing!
You see, when you call the shots it’s easy to come up with a ten year plan. But once you say, “Not my will, but yours be done” all of a sudden you’ve handed the reigns to someone else. You’re not in control, and He often doesn’t let you know what the next step is until right as you take it.
That can seem hard. “I’ve given up everything to follow you! Why don’t you make it easy?!”
Especially when there’s a decision that needs to be made. Especially when others are chomping at the bit to know. And let’s face it, we like to know what lies ahead!
Sometimes even as I’m doing something I’m not even certain if it’s the right thing. But Jesus says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left you will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Did you catch that? Sometimes it’s not until after you’re moving forward that you hear Him directing you!!!
Can that ever be scary! Especially if we want to “get it right!”
But following Jesus is less about getting it right, than it is about being with Him. His ways aren’t our ways! His thoughts aren’t our thoughts. While we’re obsessing about what we should be doing, He’s often doing something not even on our radar screen. He often uses such times of confusion as incredible faith builders. Will we trust Him to lead us even when it’s foggy? Even when things are far from clear?
You see, once we realize how much better Jesus’ ways are than ours, it’s easy to slip into following Him with the motive, “I want to follow Jesus so I”ll make the right choice and life will be easier!” I believe He sometimes allows these times of confusion to refine our motives – “Will you follow me, even when it’s hard? Even when it means not knowing? Even when things aren’t clear?” Welcome to advanced faith building!
Sometimes God leads us by making the next step clear, but sometimes He leads us in the haze, guiding our steps even when we don’t realize it. Can we follow Him during such times with a thankful heart? Trusting Him that He really does care, that we haven’t fallen through the cracks, that even His silence can be an act of love?
Trusting Him that even if we choose wrong, He is so able to get us right where we need to be, right when we need to be there?
Or in our frenzy of trying to figure out His will (and He makes clear in Isaiah 55:8-9 the futility of trying to do this apart from Him), do we get mad at Him, frustrated because He isn’t guiding us the way we want Him to? Or can we continue to rest in the truth of who He is, in everything giving thanks?
During times like this I so appreciate Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
What if my focus should be, “Am I loving God?” rather than “Which decision is right?”
When I am faced with an impending decision and I’m not sure what to do, well, the temptation is always there to treat God like a dog, demanding, “Speak!” I know I need help to not fall into this trap of disrespect. I need to pray, but that’s when I feel especially vulnerable. It’s so easy to obsess about the situation even as I’m praying about it!
That’s when I grab this resource: http://www.memlok.com/adoration.pdf What a gift this has been!!! I fold it into fourths and take it with me as I walk and pray, focusing on who God is. In the midst of a fog, this is what I need the most – to remember what is true about God’s character. I can’t even begin to tell you how this helps set my heart at rest… to be reminded He is here, He really does care, He is on the throne, He is wise and good, there is purpose in all He does…
God has promised to guide us. But He doesn’t always do it the way we’d like or the easiest way. Can we trust Him to be faithful to His promises even in a fog?
When we do, we don’t just get where we need to be, we also get a major opportunity to grow ~ and bring Him pleasure! (Hebrews 11:6)