Why do I believe in God? And more importantly, why do I believe in the work of His Holy Spirit?
Things like this…
A dear friend of mine moved this week. She is a freelance teacher, runs a ministry to families and a small business to support that ministry, and homeschools her two young children. She is busy. She was moving this week, the stress of which is very fresh in my mind. We pass each other on Facebook nearly every day, but we haven’t talked in a few weeks. She has no idea what twists and turns “our life situation” has taken since then (and they seem to happen on a near daily basis), and yet, in the middle of the night a few nights ago, in the midst of her moving-craziness, she sent me a series of texts with a scripture. The verses come at the end of a parable Jesus told about a smart but self-serving manager who was taking advantage of his employer:
Now here’s a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.”
(from Luke chapter 16, The Message)
It’s a fine line, walking between faith that God will provide for us and knowing when to act. Certainly, God recently has led us into and through a more passive season than what we are used to or comfortable with. Lately, though, we have been made somewhat comfortable again, in that our basic needs are being met enough that we can pull our minds away from ‘Holy crap! What are we going to do?’ kind of thinking and ease ourselves back into ‘Go big or go home’ mode.
We tend to dream big…
… but because of the nature of dreams we’ve had these past few years, we believe they ain’t ours:
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4
It would be easy – and is easy – for many people to look at that verse and translate it as, Be a good little Christian and Jesus will take on the role of Santa and give you everything on your list. But that isn’t the way it works. Ready for this?
Clarke’s Commentary says that to delight in the Lord means, “Expect all thy happiness from him, and seek it in him.” Barnes Notes on the Bible goes on to say that your heart’s longings will then be granted because “the fact that you seek your happiness in him will regulate your desires, so that you will be “disposed” to ask only those things which it will be proper for him to grant” and “the fact that you do find your happiness in him will be a reason why he will grant your desires.”
So basically, if you are chasing God, He’s gonna put HIS DREAMS in your heart, and then He is going to make them come true.
He has done it for us before, and I tend to lie to myself that it won’t happen again. But Luke 16, and one phrase in particular there has stirred my soul one more for new dreams:
– that is, use these ashes and trade them for beauty. Use the ugly and trade it for the radiant. Use this obstacle as an opportunity. Seek and expect redemption out of these craptastic circumstances. Stop looking at the door that is closed and instead walk through the one that opened right next to it. Use every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival.
I am jumping up and down and yelling, (quite literally at times), OK GOD! LET’S GET CREATIVE. C’MON!
The other verbiage of this verse has me thinking about doing this:
’cause we totally want to “really live.” We want to Really Give! We want to do bigger than what we’ve done before, and God has already given us the opportunity to do way bigger things than we ever dreamed…
Loving on our sponsored kids in Bogota, Colombia with Compassion.
For three years (and maybe more to come), leading gospel artists in a multi-day, raise-the-roof-with-praise event in… Branson! (We planned the first one before we’d ever even been to Branson!)
Navigating a second marriage and blending a family. Have you read statistics? This is a miracle of God! (and in our case, a living advertisement for Chipotle).
It is easy, so easy, for me to feel discouraged and lost and purposeless these days. I often, too often, look to my Heavenly Father and ask in tears, in frustration, or even sometimes in exasperated good humor, “WHY ARE WE HERE?” I cannot see the endgame. I cannot see simple solutions to the situations around us. But by His grace – and through words like the ones in Luke 16, I am beginning to see what it might be. That, my friends, is grace for the moment. Sometimes, that is how we live… just enough strength for this day, just enough light to see the next little step.
But Luke 16 is calling me, ME, to do more. To live big. “To really live.” To look for angles, to utilize obstacles, to be creative and survive until I thrive.
What is He calling you to do? Want to dream along with me?