Tonight in the Bible Study we talked about trust. Pretty much most stories in the Bible deal with having to trust God, at least the majority of the stories boil down to that. We talked about Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph, a lot of those stories you heard if you grew up in church. Re-reading them has definitely given me a new perspective. That's one of the many things I love about the Word of God-- you could read it a thousand times and still learn something new from it every time.
As I sit down to write this devotional, I am setting aside my notes from tonight's Bible study. Not that I don't want to share it but I just feel the Holy Spirit leading me to write from a different place, still talking about trust but just differently than originally planned.
About 3 or 4 weeks ago I started this Bible study on Tuesday nights because I felt God calling me to do so for quite some time so it was time to stop waiting around and to just do it. I expected it to look different than it does but I am so grateful for the relationships and community being built through this little study. Tonight, however, I honestly felt a bit discouraged. Not because of the small attendance but mainly because I was questioning why I was even doing this, "Is this even making a difference, God? Is this really what You have asked me to do? Are people only coming because they feel pity for me?" These questions, of course, stemmed from lies the enemy was whispering in my ear-- lies I should have grabbed by the foot and thrown out before I let them take root in my mind.
Then the questions went further. As I thought about all I have going on between school and work and ministry and life, I began to question what the point of any of it was and if I was making any sort of a difference... when God stopped me and reminded me, ever so gently, that He is the One who makes the difference. If the things He has asked me to do weren't for the other people it was at least for me. I was putting too much pressure on myself to see the outcomes, to see the things God asked me to do make a difference... I don't mean this to say we shouldn't work hard, what I am saying is this: we need to stop putting pressure on ourselves for the outcome when God has only asked us to be obedient. Obedience to God doesn't mean we make things turn out a certain way, obedience means we simply do what God has asked us to do and trust that He will do what only He can do.
There is so much God is doing beyond our vision. When we do as He asks us to do, live as He has asked us to live, when we respond in obedience to our Father and let Him do His thing, we let go of the idea that we got it all together. We let go of the false responsibility we put on ourselves to make things happen that only God can do, shift hearts and open souls the way only God can do, heal lives and mend relationships like only God can. Only the unseen God can do the unseen work. Yes, we play a part, we respond by saying "yes" to all God asks of us. But we don't take it a step further by trying to do what only God can do.
Maybe none of this resonates with you. But for me, I know I spend so much of my thought life thinking about how I can make something happen. Coming up with a plan B. Making arrangements and agreements with myself about what I will do if blank or blank doesn't happen. Concocting solutions for the things I cannot yet see happening as if my job is to be god. Your job, my job, is not to be god. He's got this, y'all, God doesn't need our help. Promise. But He does desire our participation. He wants our hearts obedient and in surrender to Him.
When we take the pressure off ourselves by getting rid of result-driven obedience and replace it with love-driven, trust-driven obedience to God, we have the peace and comfort of knowing we don't have to make anything happen. God's already got it. Rest in knowing this truth, friends. Rest in knowing God works for our good, we need only to trust Him, for He is working beyond our vision.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1