Today was unexpected.
I have complete faith in God. He’s a perfect God, and He’s a God of paradoxes. Which is so cool. One example is how he is completely personal and relational yet we are not individuals; we are one body united to worship Him. He wants so badly to have a personal relationship with us, yet we’re all one body. Isn’t that so cool? You know, He can completely fulfill us and make us thirsty for more at the same time. I must say, I worship an awesome God.
Let me give you some background on where I’m going with this.
A few weeks ago… wait more background… Every Monday, I go to an awesome gathering of 20 and 30 somethings at Woodstock. It’s called Prime Atlanta. Dave Edwards is the speaker.
OK, A few weeks ago, Dave was in the middle of his series iWill (When faith and destiny collide). Well, he did a talk on how to read the Bible for answers. It was great and inspiring. Great is a bad word… it was amazing. It gave me hope that I don’t have to fish around for answers. So, I asked God a question, prayed… kind of, and tried to start reading for an answer. I knew I was doing it half-heartedly. I knew that I doubted I would find anything. So, I gave up. The thing is, I knew in my heart of hearts that if I surrendered my doubts and fears and had complete faith that God would reveal himself through His word, I would find an answer.
But, I still had that lingering doubt and really fear of what the answer would be.
Fast forward to last week at Fusion. (More background? Fusion is our BCM’s (Baptist Collegiate Ministries) fellowship and worship gathering.) The message was the speaker’s story. It was about his journey through life and lingering singleness. He finally broke down one evening when he realized he’d been trying to control this area of his life. First, he was reading through Matthew to reacquaint himself, and he came across Matthew 6:33. He said it was like he’d never read it before, and the words jumped off the page.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
It’s one of those verses that makes perfect sense if you’d only do it. With his story in mind, I sought after God for my own story. I knew that, like the speaker, I would have to die to any expectation I had of marriage or money or anything else I was holding on to if I wanted God to speak to me. If I wanted to live the life the way He intends me to live. I tried several times to read through Matthew or Romans. I realized that I was trying again to write my own story or try and make God write my story like he wrote other people’s stories.
That won’t do. First of all, you can’t make God do anything. It so silly to say that, but it’s true. Today at church, worship was unbelievable. The message, the music… couldn’t believe that God called me to such an amazing church. The thing that got me was the invitation. “Jesus Paid it All” was the song. It always gets to me, but today was different. I sang it with all my heart. I meant it.
Jesus paid it all/ All to Him I owe/ Sin had left a crimson stain/ He washed it white as snow!
Oh, praise the one who paid my debt/ And raised this life up from the dead!/
Oh, praise the one who paid my debt/ And raised this life up from the dead!
Jesus paid it all for me. Why was I having reservations that the Living Word would not speak to me from the Written Word? I gave it up. I gave up my doubt. I gave up my frustrations. I gave up my fear. I told God to send me where he needed me. I begged him to use me. I could barely move from the pew after the invitation because I knew I was about to get an answer to a question that had been in my heart for a long long time. I knew deep withing my soul what I needed to read. I knew that the book I chose wasn’t a book (in the Bible) that I would have just happened to read. I didn’t force it. God spoke to my soul, and I prayed for real this time.
As I was reading, I could feel doubt creeping in, but I prayed even harder. The doubt left me. I knew that my question was about to be answered, and regardless of that answer, I would be satisfied. Let me tell you something, as I read over the passage that answered my question, I could barely believe it. I was scared it was my humanness kicking in, but I had to remember that I did not choose this book because I knew what was in it. I chose it because God led me to it, and it was actually the first time I had ever read it.
I didn’t read it historically. I read it personally. If I told someone what that question was and what God answered it with, they’d tell me I was wrong. I understand fully what the passage is about, and I also understand fully that God used those words to answer a seemingly unrelated question. You see, He’s a God a paradoxes. He’s infinitely wise.
The hard part is waiting and trusting that what I read was not of me but of God. For if I believed it was of me, then it ushers in doubt and lots of bad questions. I have to wait. I know I already said that, but it’s hard. When you know the answer… it’s so hard. I have to trust that God will unfold everything in His perfect time. And in that wait, He will satisfy me. After the wait, He will satisfy me.