I'm reading my way through the Bible, as I do from time to time. And mired in the Old Testament, I'm stuck on this concept of the Israelites in battle. When they have humbled themselves and "the Lord [is] with them," one Hebrew can slay an entire civilization. When they rebel and have not sought God's will going in, the tables turn and God's people die by the thousands.
I think that's incredibly cool, and I find myself 5000+-year quarterbacking, rooting for them as God is with them and practically screaming their foolishness when He is not. "Look in Achan's crawlspace!" I'm screaming when I know they are headed into slaughter. "He's hiding something sinful!"
I know. It's kind of a weird thing to get into. That's just how He made me.
The thing is this, though. As I'm reading these stories and over and over again, those particular words, "The Lord was with them," I am also crying out for my Lord to be with me. Then realizing my unfaithfulness (insert any number of shortcomings here) and admitting to myself that...I've spent my life not really thinking about that.
Not really thinking about whether God is with me or not. Just assuming that He is because He said He will be, ignoring the caveat that just like His people, I have to seek Him out and submit to Him.
Did you know when God told them not to go....they didn't? When God tells me not to go somewhere, I look at Him a little cock-eyed and then get out my pom-poms. "But I'm fired up, Lord! C'mon! WE can DO THIS!"
Uhm...no. No, we can't. Because God has already said this is not what He wants to do. I'm not going to rah-rah Him into doing it with me and, to be honest and with the benefit of hindsight, I'd be better off listening to Him about this sort of thing.
It takes a significant paradigm shift to start thinking of the journey in a new way. There are so many voices competing for a say - the world says we should do it one way; family and friends yet another; the Lord a third; and somewhere in the middle of all of them, the voices of our own questions, worries, confidences, energies, and passions...which are a jumbled mess of both righteous and unrighteous understandings. Yet the only voice that promises Promise is God's.
My life makes a lot more sense when I not only hear Him above the din but choose to listen to His wisdom. It's tough. It grates against a lot of the things we have always had in our lives, at least for me.
And it's tempting to give in. To give up. You know...I'll admit it. I have not always lived a pure heart. I didn't grow up knowing this was an option, and I used the tools of my former life and worldview to their fullest. Now that I've chosen (and choose every moment) to listen to a Voice that isn't simply true but is Truth, I butt up against my former self every second. And there are a lot of places in this world slow to believe a girl can live something different. There are people and places that think this God-act is just another game, that my motives remain unpure, that I will never be more than I ever was.
It stings, but I get it. It hurts, but God is with me. And still, I cannot help but choose His Truth. It is beyond all that I could have imagined, and there's something absolutely wonderful about just living as it is. Just living Truth. Listening to the only One who truly gets a say in all of this, whose words rock my heart and comfort my troubles and cover me in peace. I'll give anything for that.
So back to this: I want to go where God is going with me. I want to live in accordance with His plan for me. I want to walk His path, His footsteps, and live in His mercy. I've lived so often in fear, wondering if God is with me and thinking He must be though I never asked. It's time to start asking, then taking those bold steps that say: Where You go, Lord, I will go. And where You say to back off, I will stay away.
Because as tempting as the greener grasses may look, anywhere that God is not with me is nowhere at all. And I'm not really into getting slaughtered.