There’s been a series going on…a series of listening to God and like any made-for-TV drama, each episode has continued to build on a theme. I wasn’t really sure what the “theme” was at first but as the words began to come, the pieces began to fit to reveal a much larger story.
Episode 1: “Do whatever He tells you.” John 3 (NLT)
It started getting a little funny — every time I turned around, I was reading or hearing this verse from John 3 ! I almost started doing a “double-take” and looking up for the face of God to peer through the ceiling. It’s from the story John tells of Jesus’ first public miracle — turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Beautiful story ! The interesting thing is, there was a dilemma going on and Mary, the mother of Jesus, seemed unconcerned that His time had “not yet come”. She was in the moment and the moment needed help. Her mothering skills kicked in and she saw a need and knew Someone Who could fix it. She knows her Son !
But these words rise above all the rest of the story for me…”Do whatever He tells you,” and I think, “Okay, God must be reminding me to “stay with the stuff”, “keep keeping on”, “don’t grow weary in well-doing’ .” I think it’s all about what I’m currently doing so I sit back and say “that’s cool ! I’m all in.” Listening more…
Episode 2: “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NLT)
Yikes !!! I moved all the way from Connecticut almost 2 years ago–following God all the way –for another wild and wonderful and scary adventure. Didn’t I do the “here am I, send me” already?? Where else am I supposed to go? What now?? I’m feeling that “stepping out on a limb” thing going on again . The wind is starting to blow and things are getting a little unsteady !
Now before all the locals think I’m up and moving again…spoiler alert: it’s not that However, there’s another “moving of God” in my heart to step out of my comfort zone and “relationally” move into a “neighborhood”, so to speak–a new opportunity. This would probably not seem like a big deal at all to any of you but it seems to have something more attached to it than meets the eye…a sense of calling. It seems God is setting the stage for another “Light show” that only He can pull off. It seems He’s opening the way to pitch a tent and be with people and He’s calling me into the tent with Him.
The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
I’m listening … hearing …praying …seeking …
There are unknowns, fears, what-if’s, insecurities …
Episode 3: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (KJV)
Now you need to know I nearly gasped out loud when the Bible study leader read these words the other day. Little did he know all the episodes that had played out before that moment and all my questions and fears about whether or not I was capable or suitable or big enough to “do” this thing I felt God was calling me to do. The series of events had been building and God was capping it off with this truth…
He had already prepared –even ordained– in advance the “good works” He wanted me to do. This was His doing and not mine at all. His grace. His work. His creation. Ordained. Prepared …in advance!
You see, it’s by grace I’m saved through faith–not of myself — it’s a gift of God — not by works, so I can’t boast about it on my own. Beyond that, this salvation and grace is not meant to be hoarded and kept all to myself — it’s meant to be worked out …fleshed out in the real world with real people and that’s not necessarily my doing either. God has planned and purposed the places and houses and neighborhoods I would live in , so that no one can boast about that either.
But with the calling, comes the equipping. There’s no “throw you out there and hope you make it” scenario. He’s with me all the way and the safety of the limb is never really the question because His arm is never too short to save …underneath are the Everlasting Arms.
And the Bible study leader–listening to my fears and my “I’m not big enough” excuses– turned to me and said, “You’re right on script.”
The Call of Jeremiah
The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
6 “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.
8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Could it be you have that same feeling that God is calling you “out on a limb” with Him to do something you’re just a little bit–maybe a lot !– afraid of? Can you piece together the episodes He’s been writing in your heart so far? Are you at the “Yeah, sure! I’m all in, remember!” part or the, “What? Are You sure? Who me?”, or the “Aha!” moment? I’d love to listen to your episodes !