Over the last several weeks I have had several people ask me what it means to follow God. To listen and obey wholeheartedly. The question always comes in light of what our family is currently doing. Finances usually end up as one of the central points to the conversation. However, most the time I find that it is the uncertainty that surrounds our life which really takes the spotlight and underlying attention of all questions. Whether it be with finances, lifestyle, etc, uncertainty is the main motivator behind the interest.
Uncertainty seems to quickly reveal whether you really trust the Lord or just give lip service. Boy how I have failed to trust Him during this time on the road. Uncertainty brings crisis and crisis calls upon something to lean on. Trials and tribulations aren’t supposed to be a foreign concept for those who believe in Jesus as their Messiah. That is the natural outcome of this fallen age if we choose to follow the One we call Lord. Just read the Word of God which testifies to that fact through many individual lives. It is in those trials where we have the opportunity to shine as a witness for Him. Not through striving in and of ourselves, glorying in what we can do and how we can prosper. No, it is in laying down ourselves through carrying our cross in humility. Considering others better than ourselves, loving well in the pressures, especially when the world would tell you to put all the focus on yourself during the time you are in. In those times, the spirit of this age would validate complaint or striving in the name of struggle. But let us resist the flesh and walk according to the Spirit, for it is through prayer that we access grace in the Spirit to walk worthy. I have found for myself that decent size struggles reveal whether I actually believe the theology coming off my lips.
For my entire adult life until about 2 years ago, I was incredible at making sure life was comfortable for the most part (in control of all the outcomes) while maintaining a “faith-filled” appearance as a believer. Beneath the exterior I cringed at the slightest hint of uncertainty when it came to life. In one significant time with the Lord (and many small ones) I realized that I had been through 0 significant-sized crisis in my life. My heart hadn’t been really tested outside what boundaries I had set up or could expect or control. And if it had in some small way, I was quick to make sure it didn’t happen again without me knowing it was coming. I knew on the inside through times with Him that I hadn’t allowed the Lord to move in my life the way that He desired to. Routine and planning was my security blanket and I didn’t make allowance for major shifting based on the Lord’s pursuit of my heart reality through the leadership of the Spirit. I always was 15 minutes early to meetings in order to cut off any possible trouble before it could turn major. I worked hard to not feel uncomfortable, all the while creating my own shakings for the sake of reputation, so that I could expect them and be prepared to face them. My life was calculated (manipulated many times) even when it came to hearing from the Lord. What looked like major faith on my part in the eyes of others, was a “well oiled Richee-machine” that had worked hard to administrate most every major problem out of any life experience. The Spirit was a mere talking point of my Christian faith instead of the reality by which my life was led and sustained unto being born again into the Messiah’s Kingdom at Jesus’ return. My boast was in me and my abilities to overcome the obstacles I had intentionally placed in front of me.
I say all that based on several experiences that we as a family have faced over the past several weeks. I hope to lay out some of the story in the near future but traveling, mixed with plain old life, has not afforded me many opportunities lately to blog.
Hopefully one of my next posts will document the events and give some insight into some of the uncertainties and/or pressures that we have faced. They are very small in comparison to the trials that a majority of humanity on the earth faces day-to-day. And that is just it. I have failed along the way in the smallest of trials, forgetting the Spirit’s purpose in my lives at times (to grant grace in hard times). And at other times crying out in prayer as a family and experiencing His grace beyond words.