Deep Rivers and Broad Deltas

Deep Rivers and Broad Deltas

posted in: God's will | 0

I had a conversation with an individual in a service ministry in which the individual shared that he knows that his very active service ministry will have to change in the next few years and he sees God’s hand at work preparing him and circumstances around him for that eventuality. He shared that there are several routes that are becoming real possibilities in how it can go and he’s in a bit of a quandary in praying about which one is truly God’s will. As we talked I asked him, “Why does only one of them have to be truly God’s will?

Consider this: For many years you have proven yourself faithful, obedient, and humble in going and doing what God had for you and your family to do. Now that you are getting older, consider that God may be giving you some input in the process. God knows your heart. He knows you will continue to be obedient, faithful and humble wherever you serve for the rest of your life. Consider it his reward that he is giving you such delightful choices as seem to be arising and the opportunity to exercise some personal preference in it at this point. Unless and until God closes one of them, it is reasonable to assume that any one of them is acceptable to God. I don’t think any of those options are out of God’s will. There are plenty of things to do in the Kingdom and because of your breadth of experience and skills God is saying, in effect, “Which job in your last assignment would you like? You are qualified for all of them and I need someone in each of them. I know you will do any one of them well. Take your pick!”

On several occasions in my spiritual journey I know that God has allowed me a choice about a decision because neither one would obstruct his plan for my life. I believe there are more of those than we might actually recognize.  If we are trusting in him and being obedient each day to what we know and understand, God’s guidance and continuing in his will is a natural and expected result.

We tie ourselves in knots sometimes, wringing our hands, flogging ourselves, missing opportunities and delaying in getting moving because we are afraid we will mess up in our effort to find God’s PERFECT will for us….. Our creative and redemptive God is far more flexible and capable of coaching us into his PERFECT will wherever we are and of guiding us back into his PERFECT plan if we misread the circumstances and make a misstep. God is not such a scrupulously stringent demanding taskmaster of his PERFECT will that he does not allow us to explore and grow and even bump into obstacles occasionally in order to guide us into greater and greater refinement, growth, and usefulness in the Kingdom.

As Rev. Mark Nysewander said, God’s plan is not so much a rigidly designed and minutely detailed blueprint that must be constructed and maintained according to very tight standards as it is a life-giving, sometimes fast moving, sometimes ebbing and flowing river of life into which we are to leap and let it carry us where God desires. There are gentle eddies, rocky passages, and green banks for resting. There are lazy days when one simply floats along in clear shallow waters and seasons when the rushing floods challenge all that we are capable of to simply hold on to a plank. But God is there. And eventually we get to the delta, where the waters are broad and slow and there are many channels and grassy marshes to explore. And we get to build our little seaside home or live on our little houseboat, enjoying life at the edge of the ocean to which all rivers flow.

I had always felt that my life would end near the ocean….where I would still be engaged in life with God, but with more of a routine and pattern to the days than what I experienced further up at the river’s headwaters. It is a place of retirement, but rich with opportunities for knowing and doing God’s will.

Today’s Seedbed Daily Text:

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Why Walking With God Means Traveling Without An Itinerary June 1, 2018

Genesis 12:1-5
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

CONSIDER THIS
Walking with God is far from a romantic adventure. It is to leave home on a trip without knowing the destination. In other words, when we walk with the Lord we gain the great gift of God’s presence but we lose any sense of itinerary. Did you catch that in today’s text?
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

God didn’t tell Abraham where he was going; only to go. God began with a man and a woman in a flourishing garden. After eleven chapters of catastrophic failure, God begins again, only this time he chooses not to begin with flourishing but barrenness. God begins again with a man and woman of advanced years and no family.

This time, God does not speak words of Creation but of the promise of New Creation, again with unbridled flourishing.

2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

Then we get the three words that start Genesis all over again: So Abram went.

So why does this text qualify for our Daily Text series on prayer? Abram shows us something utterly essential for anyone who aspires to walk with God in a life of prayer. I call it preemptive obedience. In making the decision to trust God’s promise, Abram decided in advance he would obey all of God’s instructions to come. The sure sign of trust in a promise is obedience to a plan you don’t get to see in advance. Yes, walking with God means traveling without an itinerary.

I’m not going to lie. This is not easy. It will surface every ounce of insecurity and fear within us. Trust, obedience, prayer, faith—this is the curriculum. Obedience is to trust as faith is to prayer. These are massive concepts that cannot really be thought through—only walked out. These ideas dwell in the realm of poetry, better yet, song.

Back in 1887, John Sammis, penned lyrics to a hymn that captures these mind bending ideas. Let’s give him the last word today.
When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will,
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

THE PRAYER
Lord Jesus, you are right here, right now. I love the idea that you have a plan for my life. I just want you to give it to me. Instead, you offer me yourself. I confess, I still want the itinerary. Teach me to trust and obey. Train my mind and heart with the grace of preemptive obedience. Right here, Jesus. Right now Jesus. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS
Have you ever wondered how many people might have turned God down before he approached Abraham. Any thoughts about that?
What makes it difficult for us human beings to add preemptive obedience to our trust? What about you in particular makes it hard to trust and obey?
Think about how readily you will trust your phones maps application GPS for directions to get somewhere. What if you could trust Jesus like that?

Comments, cheers, objections, and violent disagreements entertained equally....