You get restless when you don’t know what the next step is in your life. I know I’m not the only one that gets freaked out when I let myself think about the future. Whether I know what’s coming down the pipe or not. You probably get stressed out just like I do; frustrated not knowing the next step, anxious wondering what exactly is coming around the corner and irritated by those around you that “know exactly what they are doing” … Lately, God has asked me to do a couple things that make absolutely no sense to me. I mean, they do, but yet they don’t. I don’t really want to get into the specifics of these things but I’ll let you know that two major things God told me to walk away from – even though they were amazing on paper, was a job and a relationship. Maybe you can relate to that? I’ll be honest with you, I understand a little why God told me to walk away from both opportunities but it also makes me wonder why God didn’t correct the situation to function better and allow it to happen. At this point, I don’t think I’ll ever know. On the surface I want that to irritate me; why they didn’t work. But ever since I walked away, I have this indescribable peace and contentment from walking away. It’s weird, because I didn’t realize how much anxiety they were both giving me until afterwards and I had friends and family telling me how I was different. A good different. I think it’s one of those things where you don’t realize how heavy a weight was until you have a smaller one – or don’t have a weight at all!
Let’s put my scenarios in comparison with food. Because, well, who doesn’t relate to food? Mmmk, scenario number one: Picture a cinnamon bun. The pan was pulled out of the oven merely three minutes ago and the mouth watering, cream cheese frosting is running down the side. It looks beautiful. It smells wonderful. And it most likely tastes ten times better. You grab a fork and stab the soft sticky bun and pull a piece to your mouth. As you stuff your face with your first, over-sized bite and chew… it tastes, well, not as good as it looked. Strange. You chew some more. The baker mistook the salt to be the sugar. The cinnamon bun is disgusting. Disappointing. Why did the cinnamon bun look so good but turn out be so bitter? How could something look and smell so amazing but have such a raw taste like that? Put a pin in that thought. Now, for scenario number two: You’re at a buffet featuring all of your favourite foods. At the salad bar there is unlimited fruits, nuts, mixed greens, and salad dressings. The appies are phenomenal; wings, garlic bread, spring rolls, jalapeno poppers, nachos, and dips; the buffet table extends and keeps going but it’s nothing compared to the main courses available. From steak to pasta, seafood to the best Asian dishes and other exotic foods. Don’t let me get started on dessert. But, I’m sure you’re getting the idea. As you wander through out this amazing place full of unlimited food – going for seconds, thirds, even fourths, you stumble upon the kitchen: where all this goodness is made! As you walk towards the kitchen doors to see the glorious beginnings of the food, you can practically hear angelic harmony emanating all around you. You push open the grand double doors and are shocked. You don’t dare take another step into the space. Where to start? The smell is so rancid and sharp it takes your breath away. There is dark grey mold growing in the sinks and on the counters. You see the chef’s uniforms are covered in filth and their hands are horrifying. The tile floor is thick with grunge and dirt. How on earth is it even possible that the delicious dishes in the other room were prepared here? As you try to wrap your mind around your awful discovery you see a rat scamper under one of the dishwashers and it’s then that you notice all of the beastly eyes peering at you from under the sink, and trolleys around the kitchen. Repulsed; you turn on your heal and leave immediately. Take those two stories as you want, but it’s best explanation I can give you to describe my scenarios.
When God tells me to do things that I don’t understand, there are two people that come to my mind. The first person is Moses. Moses is one of my favourite Bible hero’s. He’s actually my second favourite next to Elijah. The second person that I think about is Abraham. I’ll explain in a minute. Anyways, when I woke up to the cinnamon bun; it was amazing and was everything that I was hoping it’d be. Actually, I’ll be honest, I didn’t notice the salt in my first bite at all. It was sweet, soft and everything I had been hoping for. So when I went for the second bite and the salt was so evident, I was quite shocked and taken back by it. But as I prayed about it, God showed me the recipe of the cinnamon bun and why I should not eat it. He showed me that it wasn’t what I wanted and not what I needed. When I was enjoying the buffet, I didn’t mean to stumble upon the kitchen. I just, did. But God showed me the kitchen to help me realize that I had potential health risks by eating that food. I originally had no idea that all of the food at the buffet was so dangerous even though it looked delightful on all the tables. By seeing the kitchen I was able to understand that just because something looks flawless – doesn’t mean it is.
“Do not look at the appearance. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the inside.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
We know a lot about Moses. He was pretty amazing and has an incredible, incomparable life story. You can read about all of his adventures, trials and successes in the beginning of Exodus. Chapter two to be exact is about the birth of Moses and how his mother saved him by putting him in a basket and floating it down the Nile river to escape the murderous hand of Pharaoh. Moses’ life extends all the way to the end of Deuteronomy in chapter 34. I have verse 10 highlighted in my Bible because it makes my heart skip a beat, “Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” This verse makes my heart so happy because I see it as hope to be a friend of God just like Moses was. As exciting, adventurous and dangerous, painful and frustrating as his life was; I think about the time when he was leading the Israelites through the wilderness and they were thirsty. In Exodus 17 God works another miracle through Moses. “The the Lord said to Moses, “Take in your hand your staff and strike the rock and water will come out of it. And Moses did so in the sight of Israel.” The same situation happens again in Numbers 20 but instead of striking the rock, God asks Moses to do something different, “..Speak to the rock before the peoples eyes, that it may yield water.” However if you read on, Moses did no such thing and instead struck the rock again to bring forth water for the people the drink. Most of us would read that passage and think, ok, not that big a deal. Water still came. The People still drank. And really, talking to the rock would’ve been embarrassing. But as punishment for disobeying God, he was denied entry to the Promise Land. There are two major reasons why something that seemed so small was actually a big deal to the Lord. First of all, Moses wrecked a foreshadowing that God could’ve used about his promised Son. The water symbolized the washing of sins and hitting the rock the first time to get water was showing how the Israelites had to offer sacrifices to be forgiven. Speaking to the rock the second time was supposed to show that we would be able to talk to God for forgiveness of sins after the resurrection. The second big issue was that Moses hit the rock instead of spoke to it out of lack of trust. He knew that hitting the rock the first time worked so, why not hit it again? See what I’m sayin? So, when God asks me to do things that I don’t understand, Moses pops into my head and how he didn’t understand what God was doing either. I’m not saying that God is doing this awesome foreshadowing move in my life that will change the world as we know it… even thought that’d be pretty sweet, but I am saying that I have no idea what I could be wrecking by disobeying. We can’t predict what God is about to do in our life or other people’s lives and who are we to actually think that we know what’s best or more efficient?
Abraham comes to mind for a completely different reason than Moses. In Genesis 15 God promises 75 year old Abraham that his descendants will be equivalent as the stars in the night sky. It isn’t until chapter 21 that God’s promise is fulfilled to Abraham and his wife Sarah at age 100. That’s a 25 year gap for this kid. The reason why I emphasize this so much is because in the next chapter; God tells Abraham, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains.” Pardon? “Yeah, ok, no stress. I can do that.” Said no one. Ever. God asks Abraham to do something none of us could possibly wrap our minds around. But what’s even crazier, is that he goes. Verse 9, “Then they came to the place and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.” I can’t even imagine what would’ve been going through Isaac’s mind at that point. But it then gets me thinking about what God has asked me to do. Walking away from a job opportunity and a relationship seem rather tame compared to slaughtering a boy. Just sayin. None the less, we need to obey what God has asked us to do no matter what the consequences might be. But listen to what happens as soon as Abraham raises the sharp blade above his kid in verse 11, “But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham! Do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God. You have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Do you see where this is going? An epic foreshadowing that wasn’t screwed up by a person’s disobedience maybe? God told Abraham to do something to test his obedience and trust and was greatly rewarded. Abraham obeyed knowing that God knew best and trusted His judgement. And in the end he still got the keep his son. Boom. Win-win.
So in Moses’ case we can see that his disobedience messed up a lot more than simply having hangry people to deal with. In Abraham’s predicament he never did have to do the hard task that he was originally asked to do. Now looking at our own lives apply those facts. By not obeying the Lord we have no idea what bigger plan we are interfering with in God’s sight and who knows, God could be solely testing our obedience and trust in Him like He was with Abraham. Who knows what I’d be screwing up by taking the job or running with that relationship! I’m not saying it’s hard walking away, I’ll confess that I’ve looked back not once, but a couple times. Wondering if I actually made the right move or not. But each time I’ve looked back, God’s put His arm around me and turned me around to keep walking forward instead of backwards. “It’s ok Payton. Trust that I know what you need and have faith to keep walking forward without looking back. It’s not that these things would have been a disaster for you. However, I do have something that’s worth the extra distance if you’re willing.” So, I’m gunna encourage you guys to obey what God has been putting on your heart and go the extra distance. That thing you’re thinking about right now – and have been shrugging off the whole time reading this, you need to deal with it the way the Lord has been telling you all along. I’m not kidding. Whether you need to walk away or pick something up. Maybe you need to renew your self control and continue walking away with out looking back like I have or maybe you need to stop ignoring something that the Holy Spirit won’t let you forget. Keep that soft heart towards the Lord – because Abraham was rewarded for it and Moses was punished greatly due to that one weak moment. You can do this.
– Stay Satisfied