Ok. I owe you an apology for the click-bait-ish title. At the same time, I think anyone who has stepped out in faith has felt this way at one time or another. “God’s got us! Right? I mean, we followed Him here, didn’t we?”
Recently, my own life has been marked by a step of faith. Honestly, one could call it steps of faith, as it has been a month since the original decision. And in that month, my decision has been challenged plentifully. The key question that has surfaced in my head has been, “Did I hear God, or am I just doing what I want?”
Well, the short answer is, I know I heard God because there were several items (I call them pillars) that have shifted to direct me this way, and those haven’t shifted back, and nothing of what I’m experiencing in opposition is anything that changes those confirmations. It is merely opposition, and the Enemy loves to oppose those who are following Jesus!
In the midst of this, my mind has been reflecting on two folks, Elijah and Abraham, and I will cover them in that order. Both of these men followed God in ways that seemed a bit foolish at the time, but by the historical record of Scripture, we know it worked out.
In 1 Kings 17:1-7, God sends Elijah away from Jerusalem and has him camp by this brook called Cherith. Here, “the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evenings, and he would drink from the brook.” (v. 6, NASB) Sounds kind of nice! Sweet brook, good water, birds bringing food….yes, please! But it turns! “And it happened after a while, that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.” (vs. 7, NASB)
Now, Elijah had predicted this drought; God had told him to get out of town right after he faithfully declared that it was coming. But here Elijah is enjoying a bit of a respite, and his provisions dry up. What we aren’t told here is whether the Lord’s word came to Elijah right after the dry up or maybe there was a brief lapse between the water drying up and the Lord speaking.
In Scripture and in my own life, I’ve often seen that God sometimes allows a modicum of pain to prove our faith. Now, this isn’t like a court room, but it is like a knife or sword forge. When a knife/sword is complete, there’s a proving to be sure it won’t bend, break, or be easily dulled. Similarly, the Lord will prove our faith, mostly to ourselves, as He already knows the outcome. Even so, that proving of our faith has an effect similar to tempering a knife/sword; it generates a unique, beneficial tension that helps to strengthen the knife. Similarly, our proven faith helps us to know we can go the distance with Jesus, and it makes us less likely to freak out when He allows something difficult to come our way.
As aforementioned, I’ve also been thinking on Abraham. Remember in Genesis 12, when God calls Abraham (then Abram) to go forth “to the land which I will show you”? I’ve often thought this would make a great comedy routine. Think about it; ladies, imagine your husband comes to you…. or guys, imagine your buddy comes to you….and says, “so, we’re packing up everything we own, and we’re moving.” “Oh! Wow, that was fast! Uh, well, cool! Where are we moving to?” “The place God will show us.” “Ok. And that is….” “Oh, no, He’ll show us when we get there.” “…Uh…huh….so, we’re going in…which direction?” “Oh! Uh…well, God will show us that; He just hasn’t yet.”
You’re either cringing or laughing. Either way, it’s an appropriate response. And yet, as we can read and now know, God did show Abraham a great land, and we know it now as, roughly, modern day Israel. But seriously, consider what it took for Abraham to go to Sarah and say, “we’re moving, and I don’t know where to; we’re just going to follow God, and He’ll show us the land He has for us.”
Hence, the title! The old Christian adage, “Where God guides, He provides” is a great rhyme and a good adage to remember, as it is true! Even so, it is also true that we sometimes wonder, “Well, does He? Really?” And my dear Reader, if you’ve followed my story here or spent the time to review the posts here, or if you are one of the folks who know me, well then, you know I can say with full authority and testimony that, “YES!!!!!!! HE DOES!!!!!” But sometimes, He’s going to ask you to trust Him.
Trust is not a common thing in our culture, these days. With mainstream media being hit-and-miss on actually reporting truth, with political leadership being two-faced, hypocritical, and cultured liars (in many cases, not trying to be too general), and even with churches turning into places of happy-messages versus being solidly Biblical even when the truth doesn’t feel good, it’s not a surprise that we would be tempted to ask God for more proof, more evidence and rarely be willing to step out and trust Him.
But dear Reader, I cannot emphasize this enough, we must trust Him! It literally causes me to get teary-eyed just typing that. If we seek evidence for God’s trustworthiness, there is plenty! It may not be our particular situation, but it is nearly the same or close enough to relate and sufficiently proclaims that He is good and trustworthy. No other person on this earth has as much evidence and proof that he or she is trustworthy, a person of their word, than The Almighty. If we even have the most basic trust ourselves (which must have to do most things of life like walking or speaking any words), then we must trust Him. It is truly not an option, it’s that obvious and imperative, but He is gracious enough to allow us to have the option.
At the conclusion of all things, we can know that He will always do what is best for us, even if that isn’t what we want or is doing nothing at all. His love for us is so immense that He chose to take on human form; Jesus took on breakable, weak, limited skin, just to save us from ourselves. And that salvation was no small thing. (We are in the midst of Passion Week. If you don’t know what He went through, The Passion of the Christ does a good job of showing it visually.)
He was mocked and brutalized while a willing captive (he could’ve resisted and/or defeated his captors), a crown of thorns was woven and pressed into his head, thorns pressing deep enough to reach his skull. Then, he was subjected to a Roman flogging, whipped with a device that was designed to rip flesh, to leave a person’s back ripped open and raw, and many who received the 40 lashes didn’t survive. But that was not enough! He was then forced to carry his cross up to Golgotha, so weak that he needed help to make the journey, and then was nailed to that cross, his raw back touching the rough wood. He hung there for 3 hours; 3 hours = 180 minutes = 10,800 seconds in excruciating pain. And in the midst of those 3 hours, He forgave, He made sure His earthly mother was taken care of, He made one last call to the people to help them realize He is the Christ, and He expressed His humanity, all before giving up His spirit and dying.
If the story ended there, we’d be pitiful to believe in Him as Messiah. But 3 days later (if you are exacting, it was more like 36-40 hours, but because he died before nightfall, it is 3 days due to the lunisolar calendar), He rose from that grave, having conquered death. After some final time on earth, He ascended into the Heavens, and He will come again.
Dear Reader, if you don’t know my Lord, much of this won’t make sense or will be harder to do than how I’m expressing it. I encourage you, today, to accept His sacrifice in your place, to begin following Him through spending time reading the Bible, His Word, and spending time talking with Him in prayer. And, equally important, I implore you to connect with a Godly, Christ-centered, Biblical church near you, so that you can be built up with and by other believers.
Godspeed – 1 Corinthians 15:10