If you saw me lying on my side for over a year you would think I was either sick or lazy. Would it ever cross your mind to think I may be listening to God? This happened to the prophet Ezekiel.
4 Now, lie on your left side, and set the guilt of the house of Israel on it. For the length of time that you lie on your side, you will bear their punishment. 5 I appoint to you three hundred ninety days, one day for each year of their guilt. So you will bear the punishment of the house of Israel. 6 When you have completed these days, lie on your right side to bear the guilt of the house of Judah. I appoint forty days to you, one day for each year. (Ezekiel 4)
What was Ezekiel doing? He was listening to God. You mean he was not being lazy. No. He was listening to God. This is not an excuse to be lazy or not to work hard. However, my challenge is for us to consider that what God calls us to do may not make sense to the rest of the world. What God calls us to do may not look like success in the “real world.”
Randy Bohlender, in Jesus Killed My Church, talks about his journey with God. Part of his journey with God led his wife and him to plant a church. In a little over three years, this church plant would be closed. By most standards, it would have been deemed a failure. The people journeying with Randy, and then later Randy too, would see it not as a failure but as a time where God was doing a specific work in their lives.
How do you get to the point in life, in your walk with God, where the outcomes seen or not seen are not as important as knowing you are obeying God? Randy writes:
Our belief in His sovereignty is valid and well placed. God is all powerful and works upon the elements of a man or woman’s life. The breakdown happens when we project our own hopes, dreams and assumptions onto His sovereign plan, essentially putting expectations on God that He would act like we would if we were given all the power in the world. This is where we encounter the truth that our thoughts are not like His thoughts and our ways are not like His ways. People react in different ways to this realization. Some sink into deep depression as they come to terms with the fact that some of the dreams they’ve dreamed will not be realized. Others lift their eyes a little higher, trust in God’s movement in their life, and determine for themselves that God is God and they are not. The first group is pounded on the beach as they fight sovereignty. The second slowly learns what it means to ride the wave.
Did you catch what he says? What if what we see, our dreams and our visions, ultimately do not align with what God desires? What if we define success one way and it turns out to be the opposite of what God wants?
The answers may vary from one person to the next. And yet, as different as the answers may be, they must come out of our pursuit of God.
26 Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?”27 He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10)
Our living must come from our being in love with God. This is the result that matters the most.
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011. Photo is Free Stock Photo from www.pexels.com)