Recently, James and I have decided to step up our game in this whole, “Serving God,” arena, and are about to embark on a journey that, two years ago, seemed out of reach and ridiculous. It will be a real stretch for both of us… a coming out of the box. It will mean trusting God to do through us what we are not capable of doing ourselves. The truth is, neither one of us has ever stretched this far, and no one would hire us in the real world to do what we are about to start doing. God’s hiring system is different though. I think He likes to take the least qualified looking person and put them in some of the hardest positions so everyone will know He’s doing a thing. I’m pretty sure that’s what’s happening here.
Two nights ago, James and I were up talking about our new journey, and I was freaking out. If you’ve known me for more than a few minutes, you know that’s what I do, then I get on the horse and learn to ride, and I’m fine. But I was in the freak out, telling James, “I think God picked the wrong people. We aren’t qualified. I don’t think we know what we’re doing. Why did He pick US? Wasn’t there someone else who could do this better? Why didn’t He pick them?”
James looked at me, in that way that he looks at me right before he knows he’s going to ruin my day, and said, “Maybe you just don’t have enough faith!”
Me? Mad? Oh yes.
“I DO HAVE ENOUGH FAITH! I KNOW HE CAN CARRY US THROUGH THIS! I KNOW THAT BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE! I JUST DON’T KNOW IF HE PICKED THE RIGHT PEOPLE! I DON’T HAVE FAITH IN ME NOT TO SCREW IT UP!”
So I went to bed thinking,” He’s wrong. I have faith. God can do this. I just think I’M the wrong pick! I’m gonna pee all over this thing!”
If you’re sitting there with your jaw open at how I can talk about myself that way and have so little confidence, don’t worry, I am too now. That’s pretty bad. I know.
I went into my prayer time a little bit tired that night. I asked God to fix some things in other people’s lives around me. A lot of my friends are struggling through some pretty major stuff, and I don’t know what to do to help. In some cases, I can’t help at all. That’s a pretty hard place. I’m a helper. That’s what I want to be doing all the time. But, some of my friends are going through things that are way too big for me, and I can’t do anything, so I pray every night. I was praying that particular night and handing God my excessive laundry list of things I wanted Him to fix, when I quit and just told Him, “God, You know all this stuff. You’re already working in all of it, and Your will is going to be done, so can I just lay here with You until I fall asleep? You talk. I’ll just lay and listen. Sometimes, I think I talk too much and don’t let You say anything.” So I laid there, and quickly fell asleep.
WARNING: If you invite God to talk with you, stay awake. He wants to talk. He will talk. I woke up yesterday morning and it started. I fell asleep when God wanted to talk, and He woke me up talking.
My first thought when I woke up was that James was right. I didn’t have enough faith. But it wasn’t that I didn’t have enough faith in God’s ability to do something through me. It was that I didn’t have enough faith to believe He could pick me on purpose. I thought for sure He made a mistake in picking me. I wasn’t the right choice. He had picked the wrong people for the job. The God of the universe, who had never made a mistake ever, had picked the wrong kid. Yep. That sounds nuts now. I know. You don’t have to tell me.
So I texted James and told him he was right, that I didn’t have enough faith that the God of the universe who had never screwed anything up in all of EVER, might have made YET ANOTHER right choice. Me? The right pick? Yes.
It’s hard to tell him he’s right. I’m getting good at it though. Have you met this man? He’s smart. It’s annoying.
So, that was my spiritual awakening for the day, and I thought we were done. Wrong.
I’ve recently cracked this book by Francis Chan, called Forgotten God: Revisiting Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit. Pick it up. It’s a good one.
I got to a paragraph in the book that says, “Have you ever thought about what it means to be ‘known’? Though I’d been telling people for years that I ‘knew’ God, only recently have I explored the concept of being ‘known’ by Him. It’s breathtaking to picture almighty God saying, ‘ I know Francis Chan. He’s my son. I love him!”
And then it asks, “Are you confident this is what God would say if I asked Him about you? Do you know God or just know about Him? Are you acquaintances or intimate friends?”
I skimmed over this passage and thought, “Of course I know God. I’m certain He would say I’m His daughter and He loves me.” Moving on…or not. Pause.
I can’t explain how sometimes God will use a thing I remember and make it apply to now, but that’s what happened yesterday.
Immediately, I remembered a time in my early walk with God, when I was still praying for James to jump on this train with me, and I found an “in” for him to get to know the people I was hanging around…these “Christian” folks, who happened to gather every Thursday night to do “Christian” things. My new found friends were having a barbecue. I invited him, told him there was no pressure to act any certain way. We were just people gathering to eat hamburgers, and for some reason, he agreed to come.
So, we were there and everyone was eating. There was a guy talking to James about video games, or fishing, or something, and this guy’s daughter comes running up, jumps in his lap, wraps her arms around him and plants a big kiss on his cheek, then puts her half eaten cookie right on top of his hamburger and leaves to go play with the other kids.
I remembered thinking, “He must be a really cool dad. She is really comfortable with him. She just jumped right up, invaded his space, planted a big ole kiss, and even left her cookie on his plate! I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that safe with anyone.”
Now, don’t take that as my saying that I had awful parents that I couldn’t approach. I have always felt both my parents loved me, and they did everything they knew to make me safe and let me know I could always come to them for anything. I’m just saying I don’t jump in a lot of laps, and I certainly don’t just leave my half eaten food anywhere near yours. I don’t trust you that much.
But as I was thinking about that scenario, I felt God tell me, “You can leave your cookie in my plate. I am your safe. I know you, and I picked you on purpose, way before you ever knew this would come, and you are fine, no matter what happens, because I am your safe.”
I cried. For an hour. I don’t know if I have words in my vocabulary to describe what it felt like. He’s my safe place. He’s the place I can run and throw my arms around, plant a big kiss, and leave half eaten cookies. I think I knew that, but not as intimately as I do now. Cool, right?
And I’m going to be fine, because this is His plan, not mine. He already knows how it goes, and He picked me. It has nothing to do with my ability or inability to do the task. It has to do with being His, and being picked. Dang. Anybody want a cookie? I ate a piece.
This is what it felt like. These words.
“I want to sit at Your feet, drink from the cup in Your hand, lay back against You and breathe…feel Your heartbeat…This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand, I melt in Your peace…It’s overwhelming…” Yeah. That’s what it felt like.