Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Grumbling Along the Way

Sometimes there are moments when you know that you are capable of so much more than you dare to attempt. For me these moments come with a headache and a gut wrenching nausea that can leave me paralyzed. It usually happens when God is calling me to move away from a place that is comfortable, a place that seems good enough, and one that others would never fault me for staying in. In fact, many times people question why I would consider making the move at all.

I would like to say that I take these leaps of faith because I see a great and wonderful opportunity. I see a chance to do something greater for the Lord, and I rejoice over the fact that he would allow me the chance to serve in such an audacious manner. The truth is it is usually because I know I will be miserable if I don’t. God has this way of picking at me until I give in, and scream “Enough already.” And then I pick up my knapsack and begin trudging in the general direction he has indicated, all the while grumbling that he would require such a thing of me.

Fortunately, he is used to surly traveling companions and laughs off my grumbling with a certain amount of divine humor. I guess I really don’t have anything on 2 ½ million former Egyptian slaves.

I have heard a lot from people about the irresistible will of the Father, but I really don’t believe that. To me God is so much more than a cosmic bully, pushing me around to suit his whims. I do, however, believe that he extends the chance to walk with him in some pretty scary and amazing places. Places where we have the chance to know him better, to experience the part of him that can only be seen in the wilds of faith. Places where we become even more of who were designed to be, places where we can be more than we thought we could be.

And maybe mostly importantly, places that keep part of us alive. A deep secret part of who we are that can only exist when we are clutching the hand of the Father. I think this is why I go when he calls me, I don’t want that part of me to be extinguished in the drone of the expected. I want that chance to see him do something incredible, and I want the chance to be a part of it. And there a big part of me that is scared to death of missing out on anything he does that is so much bigger than my affinity for comfort and security.

I woke up yesterday with these words in my head. Sometimes you find a safe place and playing it safe will keep you there. The question for me is, is playing it safe what we were called to do?

I have ransacked my Bible looking for just one verse to justify playing it safe. And all I find are stories of audacious daring, people who were willing to deny the demands of their society and culture in order to catch a glimpse of him. Women who elbowed their way through crowds, argued with Jesus himself, all in attempts to hear his words, see his face, feel his touch. Men who weren’t content with the status quo who dared great things, even their lives, to be where he was and do what he was doing.

And in the end the words proclaimed over them were, “Your faith has made you whole.” Whole, what an interesting concept, the idea of shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, but so much more than we usually understand it to be. The reality of “nothing broken, nothing missing.” Shalom, knowing that a piece of us that only lives in his presence, alive and vital.

I sit here this morning lost in the paradox of faith. Wholeness comes through sacrifice, peace in struggle. And I know that I will be at rest only when I begin to move in the direction he is leading. Playing it safe isn’t an option any more, and risk is the pathway to true safety.

It is time to be whole, wholly his, wholly in his presence, and wholly committed to being who he has called me to be. I don’t know where this new path will lead, but I know that he is already there and that is enough.

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