Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Go Anyway

One small, obedient, faithful step in a holy direction may seem simple enough, but what if you're not sure it will work? What if it doesn't feel right? What if there are too many questions and too many roadblocks and too much speaking against that step?

Go anyway.

But what if it doesn't work?

Ask Moses.

I love the story of Moses, and for so many reasons. But one of them is this: God repeatedly tells Moses to go and tell Pharaoh this or that thing, and in the same breath, God tells Moses that it won't work. "Tell Pharaoh to let My people go into the wilderness to worship Me, but I will harden his heart, and he will not let you go." And Moses, as reluctant as he was to be God's spokesman in the first place, as much of a fight as he put up at the burning bush, as repeatedly as he needed God to reassure him of, well, everything...goes anyway! God tells him to go. God tells him it will be fruitless. And Moses goes anyway.

That's obedience. I was going to say faith, but I don't know that Moses really saw or believed in the end game. I think at this point in his journey, he was just doing what he was told because he couldn't think of any other reasons not to. Although if you ask me, "Because it won't work" is a perfectly valid reason.

You have to stop for a second and think about this because we, in the 21st Century, have the benefit of hindsight. We know what God did when what He sent Moses to do didn't work. We know about the flies and the frogs and the locusts and the first-born. We know about plague after plague after plague. We know how God showed Himself and how He worked things out for His glory. Moses didn't have that benefit. Moses heard go, and he went, and it failed, and there were frogs. He heard go, and he went, and it failed, and there were locusts. He heard go, and he went, and it failed, and there was the Passover. Eventually, they make it out of Egypt and Pharaoh comes after them. With one eye over his shoulder, you know Moses is thinking, "This won't work," even though God hasn't said such a thing about this moment. 

Every now and again, I've heard God ask me to do something. Some small, obedient, faithful step in a holy direction. He's never been kind enough to tell me which ones are going to work out, though. And I've had my fair share of steps in faith that seem to be fallacy. I've had my share of things that don't work out the way I thought they would, or the way they seemed they would. Or the way that it seems "holy" would mandate that they should. I don't know really what to say about those times, except that in hindsight, it's easy to see God's glory unfolding. 

Easy to see, but hard to describe. Because I can look back over my life, particularly in a season like this, and see obviously God's glory. But then you start to think about things, and you think, "Couldn't today have happened without yesterday? Couldn't today still be possible without yesterday being as it was?" And the answer, in most situations, is yes. You could have found true love without that first fancy and painful divorce. You could be in your dream job without having been fired from the burger joint many years ago. You could have the life you have today without having lived the life you had yesterday. But something would be missing. And that something is different in every story. I don't know what it is in yours. I'm not even sure I know what it is in mine.

I think about the small steps I've taken in faith. I think about the times I've responded to God's voice in my life. I rejoice in the times that it's all worked out well. I mourn the times when it didn't. But I see the glory in those times. And I'm glad I don't have the benefit of Moses. I'm glad God doesn't tell me whether it's going to work according to my fantasy or not. I'm glad He doesn't say, "Do it anyway." Because I don't know that I would. I don't know that if God told me to go and in the same breath added that it would be fruitless, that I would be able to go. Which is maybe why I've never heard Him say, "Do it anyway."

He just says, "Do it." Who can argue with that?

And it turns out...that it turns out. Every time. Sometimes, in unexpected ways.

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